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Advancing the Understanding of Behavior in Social-Ecological Systems: Results from Lab and Field Experiments

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Janssen, Marco A.; Lindahl, Therese; Murphy, James J.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 20
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10133
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): common pool resources
experimental economics
social-ecological systems
Abstract: "Experiments have made important contributions to our understanding of human behavior, including behavior relevant for understanding social-ecological systems. When there is a conflict between individual and group interests in social-ecological systems, social dilemmas occur. From the many types of social-dilemma formulations that are used to study collective action, common-pool resource and public-good dilemmas are most relevant for social-ecological systems. Experimental studies of both common-pool resource and public-good dilemmas have shown that many predictions based on the conventional theory of collective action, which assumes rational, self-interested behavior, do not hold. More cooperation occurs than predicted, 'cheap talk' increases cooperation, and participants are willing to invest in sanctioning free riders. Experiments have also demonstrated a diversity of motivations, which affect individual decisions about cooperation and sanctioning."

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