The Subgroup Problem: When Can Binding Voting on Extractions from a Common Resource Pool Overcome the Tragedy of the Commons?

30 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2011 Last revised: 10 Apr 2013

Mark Bernard

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics

Pontus Strimling

Stockholm University - Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution

Kimmo Eriksson

Stockholm University - Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution; Mälardalen University

Date Written: March 17, 2011

Abstract

Using a common pool resource game protocol with voting we examine experimentally how cooperation varies with the level at which (binding) votes are aggregated. Our results are broadly in line with theoretical predictions. When players can vote on the behavior of the whole group or when leaders from each group can vote for the group as a whole, extraction levels from the common resource pool are close to the social optimum. When players extract resources individually, there is substantial overextraction. When players vote in subgroups, there is initially less overextraction but it increases over time. This suggests that in order for binding voting to overcome the tragedy of the commons in social dilemmas, it should ideally affect the group as a whole.

Keywords: common pool resource, voting, polycentricity, subgroups, cooperation

JEL Classification: C72, C91, C92, D02

Suggested Citation

Bernard, Mark and Dreber, Anna and Strimling, Pontus and Eriksson, Kimmo, The Subgroup Problem: When Can Binding Voting on Extractions from a Common Resource Pool Overcome the Tragedy of the Commons? (March 17, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1788798 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1788798

Mark Bernard

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Anna Dreber

Stockholm School of Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
S-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Pontus Strimling

Stockholm University - Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution ( email )

Stockholm, SE-106 91
Sweden

Kimmo Eriksson (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution ( email )

Stockholm, SE-106 91
Sweden

Mälardalen University ( email )

S-721 23 Vasteras
Sweden

Paper statistics

Downloads
84
Rank
246,457
Abstract Views
918