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Costly Communication and Cooperation in a Changing Water Common Pool

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Villamayor Tomás, Sergio; López, Maria Claudia; Blanco, Esther
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: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7703
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: South America
Subject(s): field work
natural resources
Abstract: "It is well known among researchers that communication between users in CPRs facilitates cooperation and self-regulation of the resource use. It is less well known under which circumstances such communication can emerge and effectively contribute to cooperation. This paper studies (1) whether the size of a CPR has an effect on the provision of voluntary costly communication, and (2) whether different ways to provide costly communication affect the relationship between communication and cooperation. For this purpose, the paper presents the results of a series of field experiments in rural Colombia comparing two costly communication treatments against a non-communication baseline in scenarios of different sizes of the CPR. The costly communication treatments differ in the way communication is provided. In the "public communication" treatment, communication is provided to all users if a threshold of indvidual and flexible contributions is reached. In the 'private communication' treatment, communication is allowed only to users who pay a fix communication fee. There is not a clear relationship between changes in the size of the CPR and individual contributions to the provision of communication in any of the communication treatments. Most impontantly, however, the 'public communication' treatment can result in a significant increase of cooperative behavior with regard to a non-communication situation, regardless of changes in the size of the CPR, which is not the case of the 'private communication treatment'."

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