The role of communication in resolving commons dilemmas: Experimental evidence with heterogeneous appropriators

Steven Hackett, Edella Schlager, James Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

124 Scopus citations

Abstract

Communication has been shown to be an effective mechanism for promoting efficient resource use in homogeneous common-pool resource settings. Communication allows appropriators the opportunity to agree on an aggregate appropriation target and coordinate over the selection of input allocation rules. When appropriators are identical, these rules result in identical input allocations, which facilitates cooperation. We examine the robustness of communication as an efficiency-enhancing mechanism in settings where appropriators differ in input endowments. This heterogeneity creates a distributional conflict over access to common-pool resources. This conflict can cause self-governance to fail. We present findings from a series of experiments where heterogeneous endowments are assigned: (1) randomly, and appropriators have complete information, (2) through an auction, and appropriators have complete information, and (3) randomly, and appropriators have incomplete and asymmetric information. These findings are contrasted with rules from CPR field settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-126
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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