Dynamic Simulation Model of Common Pool Resource Cooperation Experiments
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We investigate the decision rules adopted by individuals in local communities, whose livelihoods depend on common pool resource stocks and who face the cooperation dilemma in their everyday life. For this purpose, field experiments are modeled and the model structure and output are confronted with experimental data and with the relevant theory of collective action proposed by Ostrom (1998). The field experiments analyze the cooperative action among coastal communities in Providence Island (Colombian Caribbean Sea). The simulation model is built according to the principles and methods of System Dynamics. The model formalizes the feedback causality among reputation, trust and reciprocity as suggested by Ostrom (1998). Moreover, based on the payoff structure used in the experiments, it considers other behavioral factors such as temptation to free ride, profit maximization, and awareness of the individuals in feedback perspective. Depending on the initial conditions and parameter values, model behavior replicates major patterns of the experimental data. It reveals path dependent characteristic to the initial trust of the individuals in the group. The variables and decision rules built into the model structure provide the basis for a dialogue between the theories of collective action and future experimental designs to test and improve such theories.