Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics


Environmental & Natural Resource Economics

First Advisor

Todd Guilfoos


Theory alone cannot accurately describe the characteristics of successful natural resource governance institutions. Laboratory economic experiments are needed to analyze the characteristics and validate theories in a controlled environment. Three such experiments on important, but frequently overlooked, aspects of institutions are reported: time allowed for decision-making, the strength of property rights, and how resource user groups impact each other. Chapter 1 analyzes how psychology can impact outcomes in institutions by forcing subjects to make decisions under time pressure, something not before analyzed in a dynamic Common Pool Resource management context. We find users under time pressure make decisions which reduce the sustainability of shared renewable resources. How adding parties to bargaining affects outcomes is addressed in Chapter 2, which finds efficiency is not reduced when there are no property rights. In fact, adding a third party to a bargain promotes more efficient outcomes in negotiations between two parties something traditional theory does not predict. The impact is robust to the completeness of the information participants have available. Chapter 3 is motivated by a lack of research on how Common Pool Resource management regimes perform when different groups of users interact. My experiment discovers the impacts neighboring user groups have on each other. While self-managing shared resources can lead to better outcomes, neighboring groups have a negative impact on each other. Such externalities had not been determined by previous field research on CPRs nor had they been deduced theoretically. Experimental examinations of three aspects of resource governing institutions report results theory alone cannot.



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