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Exploring Heterogeneity in Common Pool Resource Experiments with Intelligent Agent Based Simulations

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Deadman, Peter J.
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2363
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): IASC
agent-based computational economics
common pool resources--models
experimental economics
game theory
Abstract: Author's Abstract: "This work utilizes previously documented common pool resource experiments as a foundation for the construction of a series of computer simulations in which the individuals participating in the experiments are represented as separate intelligent agents. An intelligent agent is an autonomous, self-contained entity that resides within a virtual, computer-based, environment. In this study, agents are created to represent the individual participants in the CPR experiment and the resource that they share in common. By programming the agents with different strategies and endowments, the researcher can allow the agents to interact within a prespecified environment and observe the outcomes. These outcomes may include the performance of individual strategies in a specific environment, or the overall behavior of the group that emerges as a result of the numerous interactions of the individual agents. These models allow the researcher to observe the relative performance, at the individual and group level, of different combinations of individual strategies and to begin to draw connections between individual behaviors and group outcomes. "Group performance in heterogeneous simulations can vary significantly with minor changes in the initial parameters of the environment or the characteristics of the agents. Simulations which allow for simplified communication between agents show that a lock-in can occur in which the agents agree on a group wide investment strategy which may or may not be an optimal solution. Some general discussion of the results of these simulations is provided, including a comparison with some observations from experimental economics and game theory. Preliminary observations on the advantages and disadvantages of agent based simulation as a tool for the analysis of the commons dilemma and issues related to heterogeneity are provided, along with some suggestions for future directions in which this work might proceed."

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