Munich Personal RePEc Archive

From the lab to the field: Cooperation among fishermen

Stoop, Jan and Noussair, Charles and van Soest, Daan (2010): From the lab to the field: Cooperation among fishermen.

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Abstract

We conduct a field experiment to measure cooperation among groups of recreational fishermen at a privately owned fishing facility. The parameters are chosen so that group earnings are greater when group members catch fewer fish, as in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism (VCM). In a manner consistent with classical economic theory, though in contrast to prior results from laboratory experiments, we find no evidence of cooperation. We construct a series of additional treatments to identify causes of the di®erence. We rule out the subject pool and the laboratory setting as potential causes, and identify the type of activity involved as the source of the lack of cooperation in our field experiment. When cooperation requires a reduction in fishing effort, individuals are not cooperative, whether the reduction in fishing translates into more money or into more fishing opportunities for the group.

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