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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.

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A. Chhatre & A. Agrawal (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.

E. Coleman (2009) Institutional factors affecting ecological outcomes in forest management. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 28(1):122–46.

E. Coleman & B. Steed (2009) Monitoring and sanctioning in the commons: An application to forestry. Ecological Economics 68(7):2106–13.

M. A. Janssen , R. Holahan , A. Lee & E. Ostrom (2010) Lab experiments for the study of social–ecological systems. Science 328(5978):613–17. Available at:

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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