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Do the Number of Appropriators from the Commons Matter in Controlled Laboratory Environments?

Author

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

Abstract

Many controlled laboratory experiments have shown non-binding communication among appropriators from a common pool to be an effective way to reduce over-appropriation from the commons. The controlled laboratory environments have tended to be environments with fewer than 10 participants. Recent work by Buckley et al. (2017) found that non-binding communication is not successful in reducing appropriation effort in a controlled laboratory environment with 12 participants. A conjecture was that there might be a difference between 12 participants and 8 participants (the typical number used by Ostrom et al. 1994 in their seminal work and used in many subsequent studies by others). This paper presents an environment that utilizes the CPR setting identical to that used by Buckley et al. (2017) reduces the number of appropriators from 12 to 8. Eight sessions (4 with and 4 without non-binding communication) are run using the Buckley et al. (2017) environment with 8 participants. The results suggest that the number of participants may not be an important factor in driving the differences between the impact that non-binding communication has on the Buckley et al. (2017) and Ostrom et al. (1994) environments. Alternate conjectures are presented to account for the differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil Buckley & Stuart Mestelman & R. Andrew Muller & Stephen Schott & Jingjing Zhang, 2017. "Do the Number of Appropriators from the Commons Matter in Controlled Laboratory Environments?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2017-09, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2017-09
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/McMasterEconWP2017-09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Walker, James M, et al, 2000. "Collective Choice in the Commons: Experimental Results on Proposed Allocation Rules and Votes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 212-234, January.
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    3. Maria Alejandra Velez & James J. Murphy & John K. Stranlund, 2010. "Centralized And Decentralized Management Of Local Common Pool Resources In The Developing World: Experimental Evidence From Fishing Communities In Colombia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 254-265, April.
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    6. 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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    9. 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.
    10. Castillo, Daniel & Saysel, Ali Kerem, 2005. "Simulation of common pool resource field experiments: a behavioral model of collective action," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 420-436, November.
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    13. repec:kap:enreec:v:70:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10640-017-0124-9 is not listed on IDEAS
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    JEL classification:

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

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