IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

What do people bring into the game: experiments in the field about cooperation in the commons

  • Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo
  • Ostrom, Elinor

The study of collective action requires an understanding of the individual incentives and of the institutional constraints that guide people in making choices about cooperating or defecting on the group facing the dilemma. The use of local ecosystems by groups of individuals is just one example where individual extraction increases well-being, but aggregate extraction decreases it. The use of economic experiments has enhanced the already diverse knowledge from theoretical and field sources of when and how groups can solve the problem through self-governing mechanisms. These studies have identified several factors that promote and limit collective action, associated with the nature of the production system that allows groups to benefit from a joint-access local ecosystem, and associated with the institutional incentives and constraints from both self-governed and externally imposed rules. In general, there is widespread agreement that cooperation can happen and be chosen by individuals as a rational strategy, beyond the “tragedy of the commons” prediction. A first step in this paper is to propose a set of layers of information that the individuals might be using to decide over their level of cooperation. The layers range from the material incentives that the specific production function imposes, to the dynamics of the game, to the composition of the group and the individual characteristics of the player. We next expand the experimental literature by analyzing data from a set of experiments conducted in the field with actual ecosystem users in three rural villages of Colombia using this framework. We find that repetition brings reciprocity motives into the decision making. Further, prior experience of the participants, their perception of external regulation, or the composition of the group in terms of their wealth and social position in the village, influence decisions to cooperate or defect in the experiment. The results suggest that understanding the multiple levels of the game, in terms of the incentives, the group and individual characteristics or the context, can help understand and therefore explore the potentials for solving the collective-action dilemma.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.capri.cgiar.org/pdf/capriwp32.pdf
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify ()


Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series CAPRi working papers with number 32.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:32
Contact details of provider: Postal: 2033 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-862-5600
Fax: 202-467-4439
Web page: http://www.ifpri.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  4. Cleve Willis & John Stranlund & Juan-Camilo Cardenas, 2000. "Local environmental control and institutional crowding-out," Artefactual Field Experiments 00028, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
  6. Isaac, R. Mark & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., . "Public Goods Provision in an Experimental Environment," Working Papers 428, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
  8. Werner Guth & Reinhard Tietz, 1997. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior: a survey and comparison of experimental results," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1160, David K. Levine.
  9. Sally, David, 2001. "On sympathy and games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-30, January.
  10. 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.
  11. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-99, February.
  12. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
  13. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  14. Laury, Susan K. & Holt, Charles A., 2008. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Results with Interior Nash Equilibria," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  15. Holden, Stein & Yohannes, Hailu, 2001. "Land redistribution, tenure insecurity, and intensity of production: a study of farm households in southern Ethiopia," CAPRi working papers 21, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  16. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2001. "Land Inheritance and Schooling in Matrilineal Societies: Evidence from Sumatra," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(12), pages 2093-2110, December.
  17. R. M Isaac & J. Walker & A. Williams, 2010. "Group Size and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence Utilizing Very Large Groups," Levine's Working Paper Archive 11, David K. Levine.
  18. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
  19. Gintis, Herbert, 2000. "Beyond Homo economicus: evidence from experimental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 311-322, December.
  20. Bruno S. Frey & Reto Jegen, 2000. "Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey of Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 245, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. Colin Camerer, 1998. "Bounded Rationality in Individual Decision Making," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 163-183, September.
  22. Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
  23. Marwell, Gerald & Ames, Ruth E., 1981. "Economists free ride, does anyone else? : Experiments on the provision of public goods, IV," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 295-310, June.
  24. Kevin McCabe & Elizabeth Hoffman & Vernon L. Smith, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 340-341, March.
  25. Ledyard, John O., . "Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research," Working Papers 861, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  26. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
  27. Swallow, Brent M. & Johnson, Nancy & Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela, 2004. "Property rights and collective action in watersheds," 2020 vision briefs 11 No. 12, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  28. Bram Cadsby, Charles & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1998. "Choosing between a socially efficient and free-riding equilibrium: Nurses versus economics and business students," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-192, October.
  29. Swallow, Brent M. & Wangila, Justine & Mulatu, Woudyalew & Okello, Onyango & McCarthy, Nancy, 2000. "Collective action in space: assessing how collective action varies across an African landscape," CAPRi working papers 5, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  30. Hirschman, Albert O, 1984. "Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating Some Categories of Economic Discourse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 89-96, May.
  31. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
  32. 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.
  33. Ernst Fehr & Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd, 2003. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small- Scale Societies," Microeconomics 0305009, EconWPA.
  34. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  35. Birner, Regina & Gunaweera, Hasantha, 2001. "Between market failure, policy failure and “community failure”: property rights, crop-livestock conflicts and the adoption of sustainable land use practices in the dry zone of Sri Lanka," CAPRi working papers 13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  36. 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.
  37. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does Culture Matter in Economic Behavior? Ultimatum Game Bargaining among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 973-979, September.
  38. Johnson, Nancy & Ravnborg, Helle Munk & Westermann, Olaf & Probst, Kirsten, 2001. "User participation in watershed management and research:," CAPRi working papers 19, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  39. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, 1996. "Institutions and Reciprocal Fairness," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 23, pages 133-144.
  40. Place, Frank & Swallow, Brent M., 2000. "Assessing the relationships between property rights and technology adoption in smallholder agriculture: a review of issues and empirical methods," CAPRi working papers 2, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:32. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.