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Why do Some People Snatch but Others Don't?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Schlüter, Achim
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/440
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): methodology
qualitative analysis
game theory
Abstract: "This paper reports on empirical research about an existing, real-life snatch game: open access flower picking in Freiburg, Germany. Motivated on the one hand by a theoretical contribution about snatch games by Schwab and Ostrom (2006) --and on the other hand by the Grammar of Institutions (Crawford & Ostrom, 2000) and it's delta parameters, which must be the key for understanding snatching or not snatching-- this paper wants to shed light on decision making in such a real-life situation. It adds another methodological piece of the puzzle in understanding economic choices of actors. There are (game) theoretical contributions, many experiments in the lab, and games played out in the field (Cardenas, Ensminger). This paper will analyse a 'game', which is no game, but reality, which comes very close to the game of snatch. Everybody knows the mainstream theoretical prediction of the snatch game: there should be no supply, because the farmer will predict that the rational actor passing by his field will pick the flowers, without paying a voluntary contribution into the little box beside the field. This paper will explore the reasons this result is not observed empirically. It will put a special focus on the methodological design of the study. The investigation for this paper will be done with a farmer/entrepreneur, who makes his living for the past 16 years with Snatch 'games'. He has experimented largely with this form of marketing his products and owns the majority of the fields practicing the snatch 'game' in an area of 3600 square kilometres around Freiburg. He additionally runs a franchising business selling his knowledge (optimal flower rotation, optimal wording for increasing delta parameters, optimal location of the field for increasing not snatching, etc.) to farmers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The interviewing of the supply side will be done during the winter months. The demand side has to wait until the next season, which starts around May. Therefore, the paper will present work in progress."

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