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

1
Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), 28359 Bremen, Germany
2
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, 23000 Mbour, Senegal
3
Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, Jacobs University Bremen, 28759 Bremen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020536
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: CPR; cooperative dependency ratio; distributional preferences; continuous time; renewable resource; artisanal fishery CPR; cooperative dependency ratio; distributional preferences; continuous time; renewable resource; artisanal fishery
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Owusu, K.A.; Kulesz, M.M.; Merico, A. Extraction Behaviour and Income Inequalities Resulting from a Common Pool Resource Exploitation. Sustainability 2019, 11, 536.

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