Working Paper BETA #2008-21

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Title : Evolutionary Stability in Common Pool Resources

Author(s) : Jean-Philippe Atzenhoffer

Abstract : The Tragedy of the Commons refers to the dissipation of a common- pool ressource when any appropriator has free access to it. Under the behavior of absolute payoff maximisation, the common-pool resource game leads to a Nash equilibrium in which the resource is overexploited. However, some empirical studies show that the overutilization is even larger than the Nash equilibrium predicts. We account for these results in an evolutionary framework. Under an imitation-experimentation dynamics, the long run stable behavior implies a larger exploitation of the resource than in the classical Nash equilibrium.

Key-words : common-pool resource, imitation behavior, evolutionary stable strategy, evolutionary games.

JEL Classification : C73 , D41 , Q20