No SDES-2016-6
Title Sustainability of common pool resources: A field-experimental approach
Author Raja Timilsina, Koji Kotani and Yoshio Kamijo
Abstract Sustainability has become a key issue in managing natural resources together with growing concerns for capitalism, environmental and resource problems. We hypothesize that ongoing modernization of competitive societies, which we call "capitalism," affects human nature and preference in utilizing common pool resources, further endangering the sustainability. To test the hypothesis, this paper designs and implements a dynamic common pool resource game in the two types of Nepalese fields: (i) rural (non capitalistic) and (ii) urban (capitalistic) areas. We find that a proportion of prosocial people in the urban is lower than that in the rural, and urban people deplete resources more quickly than rural people. The composition of proself and prosocial people in a group and the degree of capitalism (rural vs. urban) are crucial in the sense that an increase of prosocial members in a group and the rural dummy positively affect resource sustainability by approximately 65% and by 45%, respectively. Overall, this paper concludes that when societies move toward more capitalistic environments, sustainability of common pool resources tends to be lost through changes in people’s preferences, social norms, customs and assumptions for other people. It implies that people may gradually be losing their coordination abilities for social dilemmas of resource sustainability in capitalistic societies.
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