A Common-pool Resource Experiment with Postgraduate Subjects from 41 Countries

Ahn, T. K., Elinor Ostrom, and James Walker. “A common-pool resource experiment with postgraduate subjects from 41 countries.” Ecological Economics 69, no. 12 (2010): 2624-2633.

This study reports results from a new series of experiments that examine the robustness of face-to-face communication as a cooperation-facilitating institution in common-pool resource settings. Results are reported from nine experiment sessions, initially designed for pedagogical purposes. The sessions were conducted between 1998 and 2007 as part of a series of summer institutes on institutional analysis and environmental change. Subjects were graduate students and professionals from diverse disciplines, representing 41 countries of residence. The participants in this study stand in sharp contrast to most previous studies, which used undergraduates who self-select into experiments by volunteering to participate. Results from these experiments substantiate earlier findings that non-binding communication can serve as an effective mechanism for solving social dilemma problems, with subjects achieving near socially efficient outcomes.

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