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Contagious Cooperation, Temptation, and Ecosystem Collapse

Andries Richter, Daan van Soest () and Johan Grasman
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Andries Richter: Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Norway, and Department of Mathematical Statistical Methods, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Johan Grasman: Department of Mathematical and Statistical Methods, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

No 2013.36, Working Papers from Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

Abstract: Real world observations suggest that social norms of cooperation can be effective in overcoming social dilemmas such as the joint management of a common pool resource – but also that they can be subject to slow erosion and sudden collapse. We show that these patterns of erosion and collapse emerge endogenously in a model of a closed community harvesting a renewable natural resource in which individual agents face the temptation to overexploit the resource, while a cooperative harvesting norm spreads through the community via interpersonal relations. We analyze under what circumstances small changes in key parameters (including the size of the community, and the rate of technological progress) trigger catastrophic transitions from relatively high levels of cooperation to widespread norm violation – causing the social-ecological system to collapse.

Keywords: Social Norms; Common Pool Resource; Co-Evolution; Resilience; Alternative Stable States (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C73 D62 D64 Q20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-env, nep-evo and nep-res
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Journal Article: Contagious cooperation, temptation, and ecosystem collapse (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Contagious Cooperation, Temptation, and Ecosystem Collapse (2013) Downloads
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