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Effort Provision and Communication in Teams Competing over the Commons

Author

Listed:
  • Neil J. Buckley
  • Stuart Mestelman
  • R. Andrew Muller
  • Stephan Schott
  • Jingjing Zhang

Abstract

Schott et al. (2007) have shown that the “tragedy of the commons” can be overcome when individuals share their output equally in groups of optimal size and there is no communication. In this paper we investigate the impact of introducing communication in groups that may or may not be linked to output sharing groups. Communication reduces shirking, increases aggregate effort and reduces aggregate rents, but only when communication groups and output-sharing groups are linked. The effect is stronger for fixed groups (partners treatment) than for randomly reassigned groups (strangers treatment). Performance is not distinguishable from the no-communication treatments when communication is permitted but subjects share output within groups different from the groups within which they communicate. Communication also tends to enhance the negative effect of the partnered group assignment on the equality of individual payoffs. We use detailed content analysis to evaluate the impact of communication messages on behavior across treatments.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil J. Buckley & Stuart Mestelman & R. Andrew Muller & Stephan Schott & Jingjing Zhang, 2010. "Effort Provision and Communication in Teams Competing over the Commons," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-07, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2010-07
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2010-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chan, Kenneth S. & Mestelman, Stuart & Muller, R. Andrew, 2008. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    2. Heintzelman, Martin D. & Salant, Stephen W. & Schott, Stephan, 2009. "Putting free-riding to work: A Partnership Solution to the common-property problem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 309-320, May.
    3. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
    4. Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts & Benedikt Herrmann & Henrik Orzen, 2010. "Intergroup Conflict and Intra-group Punishment in an Experimental Contest Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 420-447, March.
    5. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1992. "Communication in Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 739-771.
    6. 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.
    7. Ahn, T.K. & Isaac, R. Mark & Salmon, Timothy C., 2011. "Rent seeking in groups," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 116-125, January.
    8. Stephan Schott & Neil Buckley & Stuart Mestelman & R. Muller, 2007. "Output sharing in partnerships as a common pool resource management instrument," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(4), pages 697-711, August.
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    11. Andrew Muller & Michelle Vickers, 1996. "Communication in a Common Pool Resource Environment with Probabilistic Destruction," Department of Economics Working Papers 1996-02, McMaster University.
    12. Timothy N. Cason & Roman M. Sheremeta & Jingjing Zhang, 2009. "Reducing Efficiency through Communication in Competitive Coordination Games," Department of Economics Working Papers 2009-09, McMaster University.
    13. Gillet, Joris & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2009. "The tragedy of the commons revisited: The importance of group decision-making," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 785-797, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Josh Cherry & Stephen Salant & Neslihan Uler, 2015. "Experimental departures from self-interest when competing partnerships share output," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 89-115, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    common pool resources; communication; coordination; cooperation; free-riding; behavior in teams; partners and strangers; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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