Social capital and cooperation: Communication, bounded rationality, and behavioral heuristics

  • Roy Gardner
  • Elinor Ostrom
  • James Walker
Conference paper


Common-pool resources are natural or man made resources used in common by multiple users, where yield is subtractable (rival) and exclusion is nontrivial (but not necessarily impossible). The role of face-to-face communication in CPR situations, where individuals must repeatedly decide on the number of resource units to withdraw from a common-pool, is open to considerable theoretical and policy debate. In this paper, we summarize the findings from a series of experiments in which we operationalize face-to-face communication (without the presence of external enforcement). In an attempt to understand the high degree of cooperation observed in the laboratory, we turn to a bounded rationality explanation as a starting point for understanding how cooperative behavior can be supported in decision environments where game theory suggests it will not.


Social Capital Nash Equilibrium Measured Reaction Large Reaction Group Investment 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Gardner
  • Elinor Ostrom
  • James Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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