April, 2015

The Social and Ecological Determinants of Common Pool Resource Sustainability

  • Erik Kimbrough

    Associate Professor of Economics, Chapman University
  • Alexander Vostroknutov

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We study a dynamic common pool resource game in which current resource stock depends on resource extraction in the previous period. 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. Before the game, we elicit individual willingness to follow a costly rule. Only the presence of enough rule-followers preserves the resource given favorable ecological conditions.

 

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