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The Role of Communication in Resolving Commons Dilemmas: Experimental Evidence with Heterogeneous Appropriations

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Hackett, Steven C.; Schlager, Edella; Walker, James M.
Conference: Inequality and the Commons, the Third Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Washington, DC
Conf. Date: September 17-20, 1992
Date: 1992
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1184
Sector: Theory
Region:
Subject(s): common pool resources--models
fairness
Workshop
rules
communication--models
game theory
IASC
Abstract: "Communication has been shown to be an effective mechanism for promoting efficient appropriation in small homogeneous common-pool resource settings. Communication allows appropriators the opportunity to agree on an aggregate appropriation target, and coordinate over the selection of allocation rules. When appropriators are identical, these rules result in identical allocations, which facilitates coordination. We examine the robustness of communication as an efficiency-enhancing mechanism in settings where appropriators differ in size, as measured in appropriation capacity. This heterogeneity creates a distributional conflict over the allocation of 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 allocation rules from the field."

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