Public Disclosure of Players’ Conduct and Common Resources Harvesting: Experimental Evidence from a Nairobi Slum
27 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 4, 2011
We evaluate the effect of information disclosure on players’ behaviour in a multi-period common pool resource game experiment run in an area of notably scarce social capital such as the Nairobi slum of Kibera. We document divergence of average withdrawal rates across time with an increasingly lower cooperation in the non-anonymous setting. We demonstrate that information induced asymmetric conformity contributes to explain what we observe, that is, players who withdraw less than the average of the group in the previous round react more negatively when individual payoffs are disclosed than when they are not, and their reaction is less than compensated by the mean reversion of those who withdrew more. Our results are consistent with the (Ostrom, 2000) hypothesis that, in absence of punishment, disclosure of information about individual (cooperative or non cooperative) behaviour makes common resource management more difficult and tragedy of the commons easier.
Keywords: common pool resource game, conformism, information disclosure field experiments, tragedy of commons
JEL Classification: C93, Q20, H40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation