Human Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 387–395

The effects of information in a resource management problem: A social trap analog

  • Julian J. Edney
  • Christopher S. Harper

DOI: 10.1007/BF00889416

Cite this article as:
Edney, J.J. & Harper, C.S. Hum Ecol (1978) 6: 387. doi:10.1007/BF00889416


A resource management simulation was devised in which players could harvest points for individual short-term gain, causing the premature destruction of the resource pool, or they could curb their own individual harvesting to preserve the pool for a longer overall supply. Although the first strategy was explained to be self-defeating, most groups opted for it, as they did even when an optimal harvesting strategy was provided that would avoid pool destruction. Groups whose members were allowed to communicate generally made better resource managers and achieved larger individual harvests.

Key words

resource management commons dilemma communication social trap 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian J. Edney
    • 1
  • Christopher S. Harper
    • 1
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempe

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