Commons as a risk-management tool: theoretical predictions and an experimental test

Date: 2014-04
By: Marielle Brunette (Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, INRA – AgroParisTech)
Philippe Delacote (Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, INRA – AgroParisTech)
Serge Garcia (Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, INRA – AgroParisTech)
Jean-Marc Rousselle (INRA, UMR 1135 LAMETA)
The impact of the safety-net use of Common-pool resources (CPR) on the individual investment into and extraction from the commons is analyzed in this paper. Agents of the community first choose to invest in their private project and in the CPR; second, they choose how much to extract from their private project and the commons. The model compares two types of risk management tool: CPR as risk-coping and risk-diversification mechanisms. It also compares two types of risk: risk on a private project and risk on CPR investment by other community members. The theoretical predictions are empirically tested with experimental economics. In this view, we propose an original CPR game composed of two periods, an investment one and an extraction one. Our result clearly shows that risk reduction in the private project unambiguously decreases investment in the CPR, while it does not impact CPR extraction. We also show that a risk-coping strategy is well understood as more flexible and influenced by the outcome in terms of private project yield.
Keywords: Common-pool resource, Common-pool resource game, deforestation, experimental economics.
JEL: Q15 Q23 D71 D81