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Tensions Between the Resource Damage and the Private Benefits of Appropriation in the Commons

Author

Listed:
  • Esther Blanco

    ()

  • Maria Claudia Lopez

    ()

  • James M. Walker

    ()

Abstract

This study examines appropriation decisions in a linear appropriation game setting with variations in the resource damage from appropriation and simultaneous variations in the resource damage and the opportunity cost of conservation, where the ratio of these two variables is held constant. In symmetric and asymmetric group contexts, subjects make decisions without feedback from a menu of seven decision situations. In summary, individual appropriation levels are found to be inversely correlated with the ratio of marginal resource damage from appropriation to the marginal private benefit of appropriation and no significant differences are observed in individual appropriation levels across treatments where this ratio is equal. Moreover, among subjects facing the same marginal incentives, no significant differences are found between decisions of subjects in symmetric and asymmetric groups. Finally, using forecasts of others’ appropriation decisions; we find evidence of both a direct effect from changes in marginal monetary incentives and an indirect effect associated with changes in subjects’ first order beliefs of the appropriation decisions of others. These findings are consistent with previous evidence for public goods games supporting the relevance of the marginal per-capita return and conditional reciprocity in explaining variations in cooperation levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Blanco & Maria Claudia Lopez & James M. Walker, 2013. "Tensions Between the Resource Damage and the Private Benefits of Appropriation in the Commons," Working Papers 2013-02, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  • Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2013-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Agrawal, Arun, 2001. "Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1649-1672, October.
    3. Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy & Sabrina Teyssier, 2014. "Heterogeneous reactions to heterogeneity in returns from public goods," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 195-217, June.
    4. Ledyard, John O., "undated". "Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research," Working Papers 861, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    5. Anderies, John M. & Janssen, Marco A. & Bousquet, François & Cardenas, Juan-Camilo & Castillo, Daniel & Lopez, Maria-Claudio & Tobias, Robert & Vollan, Björn & Wutich, Amber, 2011. "The challenge of understanding decisions in experimental studies of common pool resource governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1571-1579, July.
    6. 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, pages 1-36.
    7. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-366, April.
    8. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
    9. Fangfang Tan, 2008. "Punishment in a Linear Public Good Game with Productivity Heterogeneity," De Economist, Springer, pages 269-293.
    10. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 399-427.
    11. Ostrom, Elinor, 2006. "The value-added of laboratory experiments for the study of institutions and common-pool resources," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 149-163, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    common pool resources; asymmetry; resource damage; private benefits; laboratory experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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