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The Social and Ecological Determinants of Common Pool Resource Sustainability

We study a novel, repeated common pool resource game in which current resource stocks depend on resource extraction in previous periods. Our model shows that for a sufficiently high regrowth rate, there is no commons dilemma: the resource will be preserved indefinitely in equilibrium. Lower growth rates lead to depletion. Laboratory tests of the model indicate that favorable ecological characteristics are necessary but insufficient to encourage effective CPR governance. However, using a method developed in Kimbrough and Vostroknutov (2013), we identify behavioral types ex ante by observing individual willingness to follow a costly rule, and we show that assortative matching on type facilitates CPR management.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp13-06.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp13-06.

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Length: 47
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp13-06
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html

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Order Information: Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Web: http://www.sfu.ca/economics/research/publications.html Email:


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  1. Anna Gunnthorsdottir & Daniel Houser & Kevin McCabe & Holly Ameden, 2004. "Disposition, History and Contributions in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental 0401001, EconWPA.
  2. Erik O. Kimbrough & Alexander Vostroknutov, 2013. "Norms Make Preferences Social," Discussion Papers dp13-01, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  3. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  5. Daniel Houser & Michael Keane & Kevin McCabe, 2002. "Behavior in a dynamic decision problem: An analysis of experimental evidence using a bayesian type classification algorithm," Experimental 0211001, EconWPA.
  6. Marco Janssen & John Anderies & Sanket Joshi, 2011. "Coordination and cooperation in asymmetric commons dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 547-566, November.
  7. Smith, Vernon L., 2002. "Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2002-7, Nobel Prize Committee.
  8. Rodriguez-Sickert, Carlos & Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Cárdenas, Juan Camilo, 2008. "Institutions influence preferences: Evidence from a common pool resource experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 215-227, July.
  9. Maria Alejandra Vélez & John K. Stranlund & James J. Murphy, 2005. "What Motivates Common Pool Resource Users? Experimental Evidence from the Field," Working Papers 2005-4, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
  10. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thoeni, 2010. "Culture and Cooperation," Discussion Papers 2010-09, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  12. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124.
  13. Walker, James M. & Gardner, Roy & Ostrom, Elinor, 1990. "Rent dissipation in a limited-access common-pool resource: Experimental evidence," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 203-211, November.
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