Skip to main content

Experiments combining communication with punishment options demonstrate how individuals can overcome social dilemmas

  • Elinor Ostrom (a1)

Guala raises important questions about the misinterpretation of experimental studies that have found that subjects engage in costly punishment. Instead of positing that punishment is the solution for social dilemmas, earlier research posited that when individuals facing a social dilemma agreed on their own rules and used graduated sanctions, they were more likely to have robust solutions over time.

Hide All
Chhatre A. & Agrawal A. (2009) Tradeoffs and synergies between carbon storage and livelihood benefits from forest commons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106(42):17667–70.
Coleman E. (2009) Institutional factors affecting ecological outcomes in forest management. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 28(1):122–46.
Coleman E. & Steed B. (2009) Monitoring and sanctioning in the commons: An application to forestry. Ecological Economics 68(7):2106–13.
Janssen M. A., Holahan R., Lee A. & Ostrom E. (2010) Lab experiments for the study of social–ecological systems. Science 328(5978):613–17. Available at:
Ostrom E. (1990) Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom E., Walker J. & Gardner R. (1992) Covenants with and without a sword: Self-governance is possible. American Political Science Review 86(2):404–17. Available at:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 15
Total number of PDF views: 90 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 263 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.