An Agent-Based Model of the Interaction between Inequality, Trust, and Communication in Common Pool Experiments

Marco A. Janssen, Daniel A. Decaro, Allen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An agent-based model is presented that aims to capture the involvement of inequality and trust in collective action in a classic commons dilemma before, during, and after communication. The model as-sumptions are based on the behavioral theory of collective action of Elinor Ostrom and the ‘humanistic rational choice theory’. The commons dilemma is represented as a spatially explicit renewable resource. Agent’s trust in others has an impact on the harvesting of shared resources, and trust is influenced by observed harvesting behavior and cheap talk. We calibrated the model using data from a prior set of lab experiments on inequality, trust, and communication. The best fit to the data consists of a population with a small share of altruistic and selfish agents and a majority of conditional cooperative agents sensitive to inequality and who would cooperate if others did. Communication increased trust explaining the better group performance when communication was introduced. The modeling results complement prior communication research and clarify the dynamics of reciprocal cooperation commonly observed in robust resource governance systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalJASSS
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Agent-Based Model
  • Common Pool Resource
  • Communication
  • Laboratory Experiment
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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