Information sharing may impede the success of environmental projects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A major challenge in ecosystem management is to promote cooperation among the multiple agents that manage the ecosystem. In particular, sharing information among the agents is often essential for reaching a desirable collective treatment. However, it is unclear how the sharing of information affects the incentives of selfish agents to cooperate and contribute to the common environmental project. Here, we consider a harmful species population that migrates across lands and causes damages to multiple agents, each of which aims to minimize her/his own costs due to both treatment and damages over time. We use game-theoretical models and compare the resulting collective treatment in three scenarios that differ in the information that agents have about (1) the true contribution of their neighbors to the treatment and (2) the true damages inflicted on their neighbors by the harmful species. We demonstrate that sharing such social information may incentivize the agents to free ride on their neighbors’ contributions, thereby reducing the efficiency of the collective treatment. This implies that monitoring and sharing information may have negative consequences, and the extent to which information should be shared in joint projects necessitates a careful examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110946
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume270
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020

Keywords

  • Dynamic games
  • Ecosystem management
  • Harmful species
  • Information sharing
  • Multiple agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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