Effort Provision and Communication in Teams Competing Over the Commons

Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich Working Paper No. 503

57 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2010  

Neil Buckley

York University

Stuart Mestelman

McMaster University - Department of Economics

R. Andrew Muller

McMaster University

Stephan Schott

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jingjing Zhang

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 27, 2010

Abstract

Schott et al. (2007) have shown that the “tragedy of the commons” can be overcome when individuals share their output equally in groups of optimal size and there is no communication. In this paper we investigate the impact of introducing communication groups that may or may not be linked to output sharing groups. Communication reduces shirking, increases aggregate effort and reduces aggregate rents, but only when communication groups and output-sharing groups are linked. The effect is stronger for fixed groups (partners treatment) than for randomly reassigned groups (strangers treatment). Performance is not distinguishable from the no-communication treatments when communication is permitted but subjects share output within groups different from the groups within which they communicate. Communication also tends to enhance the negative effect of the partnered group assignment on the equality of individual payoffs. We use detailed content analysis to evaluate the impact of communication messages on behavior across treatments.

Keywords: Common pool resources, communication, coordination, cooperation, freeriding, behavior in teams, partners and strangers, experiments

JEL Classification: Q20, C92, C72

Suggested Citation

Buckley, Neil and Mestelman, Stuart and Muller, R. Andrew and Schott, Stephan and Zhang, Jingjing, Effort Provision and Communication in Teams Competing Over the Commons (August 27, 2010). Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich Working Paper No. 503. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1673167 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1673167

Neil James Buckley (Contact Author)

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Stuart Mestelman

McMaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

R. Andrew Muller

McMaster University ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

Stephan Schott

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jingjing Zhang

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Blümlisalpstrasse 10
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/faculty/zhang.html

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