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Asymmetrical Contributions to the Tragedy of the Commons and Some Implications for Conservation

Environmental Studies, New York University, 285 Mercer Street, 10th floor, New York, NY 10003, USA
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Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1036-1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/su5031036
Received: 17 December 2012 / Revised: 7 February 2013 / Accepted: 22 February 2013 / Published: 6 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tragedy or Transcendence: Reflections on 'The Tragedy of the Commons')
In Garrett Hardin’s popular essay on “The Tragedy of the Commons”, he presents a model of a shared commons where herdsmen graze their cattle to illustrate the tension between group and self-interest that characterizes so many social dilemmas. However, Hardin is not explicit that consumption can actually vary widely among herdsman, although later, when discussing population growth, he clarifies that “people vary”. People do indeed vary, and here we explore further the prevalence of asymmetrical contributions to the tragedy of the commons. We also provide several examples to demonstrate that asymmetries have been frequently underappreciated by conservation initiatives. Given that many of today’s major environmental problems, such as climate change, freshwater shortages, and overfishing, are problems of users or groups of users over-consuming common resources asymmetrically, we believe identifying patterns of consumption is a necessary first step in solving any social dilemma, and can help elucidate priority areas for conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: asymmetry, conservation priorities, proportionality, public goods, tragedy of the commons, social dilemmas asymmetry, conservation priorities, proportionality, public goods, tragedy of the commons, social dilemmas
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jacquet, J.; Frank, D.; Schlottmann, C. Asymmetrical Contributions to the Tragedy of the Commons and Some Implications for Conservation. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1036-1048. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5031036

AMA Style

Jacquet J, Frank D, Schlottmann C. Asymmetrical Contributions to the Tragedy of the Commons and Some Implications for Conservation. Sustainability. 2013; 5(3):1036-1048. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5031036

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jacquet, Jennifer, David Frank, and Christopher Schlottmann. 2013. "Asymmetrical Contributions to the Tragedy of the Commons and Some Implications for Conservation" Sustainability 5, no. 3: 1036-1048. https://doi.org/10.3390/su5031036

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