Effect of rule choice in dynamic interactive spatial commons

Marco A. Janssen, Robert L. Goldstone, Filippo Menczer, Elinor Ostrom

Abstract


This paper uses laboratory experiments to examine the effect of an endogenous rule change from open access to private property as a potential solution to overharvesting in commons dilemmas. A novel, spatial, real-time renewable resource environment was used to investigate whether participants
were willing to invest in changing the rules from an open access situation to a private property system. We found that half of the participants invested in creating private property arrangements. Groups who had experienced private property in the second round of the experiment, made different decisions in the third round when open access was reinstituted in contrast to groups who experienced three rounds of open access. At the group level, earnings increased
in Round 3, but this was at a cost of more inequality. No significant differences in outcomes occurred between experiments where rules were imposed by the experimental design or chosen by participants.

Keywords


system resources; theoretical analysis; Common-pool resources; institutional change; laboratory experiments; open access; private property

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