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Real wealth and experimental cooperation: Evidence from field experiments

  • Juan-Camilo Cardenas

This paper explores how wealth and inequality can affect self-governed solutions to commons dilemmas by constraining group cooperation. It reports a series of experiments in the field where subjects are actual commons users. Household data about the participants? context explain statistically the usually observed wide variation found within and across groups in similar experiments. Participants wealth and inequality reduced cooperation when groups were allowed to have face-toface communication between rounds. There are implications for a greater awareness of nonpayoff asymmetries affecting cooperation in heterogeneous groups, apart from heterogeneity in the payoffs structure of the game.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00019.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00019
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

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  1. Jeff Dayton-Johnson and Pranab Bardhan., 1996. "Inequality and Conservation on the Local Commons: A Theoretical Exercise," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-071, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Juan-Camilo Cardenas, 2001. "How do groups solve local commons dilemmas? Lessons from experimental economics in the field," Artefactual Field Experiments 00018, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  4. Kenneth S. Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Rob Moir & R. Andrew Muller Moir, 1996. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods under Varying Income Distributions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(1), pages 54-69, February.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904, August.
  6. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1997. "Coordination problems in local-level resource management," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 197-210, June.
  7. Pranab Bardhan, 1993. "Symposium on Management of Local Commons," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 87-92, Fall.
  8. Pamela Schmitt & Kurtis Swope & James Walker, 2000. "Collective Action with Incomplete Commitment: Experimental Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 829-854, April.
  9. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  10. Hackett Steven & Schlager Edella & Walker James, 1994. "The Role of Communication in Resolving Commons Dilemmas: Experimental Evidence with Heterogeneous Appropriators," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 99-126, September.
  11. Alain De Janvry & Nancy McCarthy & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 1998. "Endogenous Provision and Appropriation in the Commons," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(3), pages 658-664.
  12. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
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