Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley
Chapter 13: (Real) behavior meets (real) institutions: towards a research agenda on the study of the commons
The study of the commons can be enriched by better understanding the interactions between institutions and human behavior. Using experiments, both in the lab and the field, researchers can explore how actual humans respond to incentives, information, and rules when facing social dilemmas. This chapter suggests combining New Institutional Economics (NIE) with experimental tools to more realistically model and empirically test hypothetical solutions to problems of the commons. To improve our understanding of what happens when groups jointly access common resources, experimental research will need to strengthen its scientific replicability, expand the number of experiments exploring the interactions between human behavior and formal and informal institutions, and improve modeling by taking humans’ cognitive biases and limitations into account.
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