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Strong Reciprocity and Participatory Forest Management in Ethiopia

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					Strong Reciprocity and Participatory Forest Management in Ethiopia

Devesh Rustagi*, Stefanie Engel*, Michael Kosfeld**

Abstract

Recent research suggests that the power of conditional cooperation norm and
punishment of norm violators in sustaining cooperation depends on behavioral type
composition of a group, which has been shown, experimentally, to have a predictive
effect on cooperation outcome. However, because the existing evidence is
exclusively based on experiments with a handful of students from the industrialized
west, fundamental questions on the occurrence of this evidence across cultures, in a
real world setting, and its policy relevance remain unanswered. Here, we report
results from experiments and surveys with 679 members belonging to 49 forest user
societies engaged in the management of common property forests in Ethiopia. We
find that, first, 35 % members behave as conditional cooperators. Second, the share
of conditional cooperators in a society has a significantly positive effect on the
society’s forest management outcome, even when we control for the structural
determinants of cooperation. Third, conditional cooperators use costly monitoring as
a mechanism to achieve a better forest outcome. The unique field settings allow us to
generate this evidence in conditions where endogenous group formation, high
migration and reverse causality have been ruled out. Our findings provide empirical
support to the models of co-evolution of punishment and cooperation.

Keywords: Conditional Cooperation, Public Goods Game, Participatory Forest
Management, Tragedy of the Commons, Ethiopia.

For a full copy of the                     paper      please      contact      Devesh        Rustagi         at
devesh.rustagi@env.ethz.ch.




*
  Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich. Corresponding author (as regards EAERE presentation):
Stefanie Engel, Professor of Environmental Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich, Email: sengel@ethz.ch.
**
   Goethe University Frankfurt.

				
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Description: Strong Reciprocity and Participatory Forest Management in Ethiopia