The survival of the conformist: social pressure and renewable resource management

Produced as part of the Climate change governance for a new global deal CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 35


This paper examines the role of other-regarding behavior as a mechanism for the establishment and maintenance of cooperation in resource use under variable social and environmental conditions.

By coupling resource stock dynamics with social dynamics concerning compliance to a social norm prescribing non-excessive resource extraction in a common pool resource, we show that when reputational considerations matter and a sufficient level of social stigma affects the violators of a norm, sustainable outcomes are achieved.

We find large parameter regions where norm-observing and norm-violating types coexist, and analyse to what extent such coexistence depends on the environment.

Alessandro Tavoni, Maja Schlüter and Simon Levin