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Collective management of an environmental threat when exposure is heterogeneous: A complementary methods approach

Barr, Abigail; Owens, Trudy; Perera, Ashira

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Authors

ABIGAIL BARR Abigail.Barr@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Economics

TRUDY OWENS trudy.owens@nottingham.ac.uk
Associate Professor

Ashira Perera



Abstract

We adopt a complementary methods approach to investigate whether and how heterogeneity in individual returns to a public good affects public good provision. We engage smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka in: a one-shot, framed, lab-in-the-field experiment, within which the farmers’ rates of return to the public good are exogenously varied; and a survey including a question about the farmers’ willingness to contribute time to the construction of a specific hypothetical public good, the return from which, for a given farmer, would depend on his or her circumstances in everyday life. In the former, we find weak evidence that heterogeneity in individual returns increases contributions. In the latter, we find that those facing a higher return would contribute more, but no evidence that heterogeneity has an effect, either way, at the group-level. We conclude that heterogeneity in returns does not explain why collective action remains a challenge in farming communities in developing countries. From a methodological point of view, we find that using complementary methods provides a more balanced account of communities’ potential engagement in public good provision.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 21, 2020
Publication Date Nov 1, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 22, 2022
Journal World Development
Print ISSN 0305-750X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 135
Article Number 105078
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105078
Keywords lab-type behavioural experiment, collective action, heterogeneity, public goods game
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/4785137
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X20302047

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