Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation



Economics; Environmental Studies


This paper presents research using a spatially explicit and dynamic common pool resource experiment to compare renewable resource extraction behavior between four treatments combining (1) open access and sole ownership institutions with (2) mobility and non-mobility of the renewable resource. The primary purpose of this research is to test the theory that introducing resource mobility into a sole ownership regime will remove the incentive for subjects to maximize the resource, instead causing them to revert to the myopic strategy predicted for the open access regime. I also test the hypothesis that open access firms are indifferent to resource dispersal. The results show that efficiency is unaffected by dispersal but the behavior of sole owners differs between dispersal conditions. Extraction requests increase at a faster rate under dispersal, fewer tokens remain unextracted in the final period, and some subjects show strategic behavior resulting in greater than 100% efficiency. This is a pilot study that presents preliminary evidence of a behavioral change. The results are subject to experimental factors such as subject misperceptions of linearity and statistical significance suffers from a small subject pool.


Research supported in part by the 2012 Millard E. Gladfelter ’25 Prize