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Extraction Behaviour and Income Inequalities Resulting from a Common Pool Resource Exploitation

Kwabena A. Owusu (), Micaela M. Kulesz () and Agostino Merico ()
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Kwabena A. Owusu: Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), 28359 Bremen, Germany
Micaela M. Kulesz: Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), 28359 Bremen, Germany
Agostino Merico: Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), 28359 Bremen, Germany

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 2, 1-13

Abstract: Using an experimental approach, we investigate income distribution among heterogeneous subjects exploiting a Common Pool Resource (CPR). The CPR experiments are conducted in continuous time and under different treatments, including combinations of communication and monitoring. While many studies have focused on how real-life income inequality affects cooperation and resource use among groups, here we examine the relationship between individuals’ cooperative traits, harvest inequalities, and institutional arrangements. We found that: (1) When combined with monitoring, communication decreases harvest inequality—that is, harvest is more equally distributed among individuals in all treatments; and (2) the cooperative trait of individuals significantly predicts harvest inequality. The relative proportion of non-cooperators and cooperators (i.e., the cooperative dependency ratio) drives the within-session harvest distribution—as the cooperative dependency ration increases, the income distribution becomes increasingly unequal, leading to a downward spiral of resource overexploitation and scarcity. Finally, our results suggest that harvest and income inequalities are contingent to resource abundance, because under this regime, non-cooperators exert the greatest amount effort—thus leading to resource scarcity and income inequalities.

Keywords: CPR; cooperative dependency ratio; distributional preferences; continuous time; renewable resource; artisanal fishery (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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