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Formal Sanctions in CPRs: Why so Often, but so Low? Combining Logics of Rational Choice using IAD-framework

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Autto, H.
Conference: Shared Resources in a Rapidly Changing World, European Regional Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Agricultural University, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Conf. Date: September 14-17
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/7682
Sector: Theory
Region:
Subject(s): rational choice theory
institutional analysis--IAD framework
common pool resources
Abstract: "Many successful regimes managing common-pool resources have crafted formal rules, but the level of formal sanctions is usually low. These observations seem to constitute a contradiction of a sort. On the one hand, formal sanctions seem to be helpful. On the other hand, their deterrence effect is used only to a small extent. These observations are explained by studying interaction effects between formal sanctions and other institutions that can sustain cooperation in a collective action game. We distinguish two positive mechanisms (direct mechanism, belief mechanism) between deterrence and collective action by combining logics of PD and coordination games in the IAD-framework using the concept of conformism. Despite conformism, deterrence is expected to contribute positively to the collective action, but exact effects depend on the distribution of conformism in the population. However, formal sanctions also interact with informal controls depending on the system characteristics. These effects may very well undermine or outweigh the potential for deterrence. Therefore, a formal agency does not face a simple optimization problem. Agencies prefer low sanctions as they rather complement informal controls than take a risk of supplanting them."

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