The Survival of the Conformist: Social Pressure and Renewable Resource Management

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Working paper
Alessandro Tavoni, Maja Schl├╝ter, Simon Levin
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This paper examines the role of pro-social behavior as a mechanism for the establishment and maintenance of cooperation in resource use under variable social and environmental conditions. By coupling resource stock dynamics with social dynamics concerning compliance to a social norm prescribing non-excessive resource extraction in a common pool resource (CPR), we show that when reputational considerations matter and a sufficient level of social stigma affects the violators of a norm, sustainable outcomes are achieved. We find large parameter regions where norm-observing and norm-violating types coexist, and analyze to what extent such coexistence depends on the environment.
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