Abstract

When governing shared resources, the level and quality of information available to resource users on the actions of others and the state of the environment may have a critical effect on the performance of groups. In the work presented here, we find that lower availability of information does not affect the average performance of the group in terms of their capacity to provide public infrastructure and govern resource use, but it affects the distribution of earnings and the ability to cope with disturbances. We performed behavioral experiments that mimic irrigation dilemmas in which participants need to maintain infrastructure function in order to generate revenue from the use of water. In the experimental design, there is an upstream-downstream asymmetry of access to water that may lead to unequal access to water. We find that inequality of investment in irrigation infrastructure and water appropriation across players is more pronounced in experiments where resource users have limited information about the actions of others. We also find that inequality is linked to the ability of groups to cope with disturbances. Hence a reduced level of information indirectly reduces the adaptive capacity of groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-26
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources and Economics
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Fingerprint

irrigation
water
experiment
infrastructure
resources
resource
Group
disturbance
level of information
ability
available information
resource use
asymmetry
experimental design
performance
revenue
effect

Keywords

  • Asymmetric commons dilemma
  • Communication
  • Experimental economics
  • Inequality
  • Public infrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

The effect of information in a behavioral irrigation experiment. / Janssen, Marcus; Anderies, John; Pérez, Irene; Yu, David J.

In: Water Resources and Economics, Vol. 12, 01.10.2015, p. 14-26.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - When governing shared resources, the level and quality of information available to resource users on the actions of others and the state of the environment may have a critical effect on the performance of groups. In the work presented here, we find that lower availability of information does not affect the average performance of the group in terms of their capacity to provide public infrastructure and govern resource use, but it affects the distribution of earnings and the ability to cope with disturbances. We performed behavioral experiments that mimic irrigation dilemmas in which participants need to maintain infrastructure function in order to generate revenue from the use of water. In the experimental design, there is an upstream-downstream asymmetry of access to water that may lead to unequal access to water. We find that inequality of investment in irrigation infrastructure and water appropriation across players is more pronounced in experiments where resource users have limited information about the actions of others. We also find that inequality is linked to the ability of groups to cope with disturbances. Hence a reduced level of information indirectly reduces the adaptive capacity of groups.

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