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Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Game participation and preservation of the commons: An experimental approach

Rommel J, Villamayor-Tomas S, Muller M, Werthmann C


Framed field experiments are widely applied to study behavior in common pool resource dilemmas. Anecdotal evidence suggests that participation in such experiments improves cooperation in actual field settings. Yet, formal tests of such relationships are absent from the literature. We present results from a field experiment, investigating how participation in a two person prisoner's dilemma game affects contributions to a global public good, as measured by donations to an environmental foundation. We find that subjects who participate in the prisoner's dilemma game donate slightly more than subjects who do not participate in the game. Participants who are paired with a cooperative player in the prisoner's dilemma also donate more. We further find that donations substantially increase with income and decrease with concern for environmental issues.


cooperation; environmental behavior; experimental economics; field experiment; land use conflicts and governance; prisoner's dilemma

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2015, Volume: 7, number: 8, pages: 10021-10035

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