This paper analyzes individual and group behavior in an experimental commons. Different factors that can help avoid the tragedy of the commons are studied in four experimental settings: separation of a larger commons into smaller commons (two harbors), knowledge/experience available to appropriators, communication within appropriator groups and the possibility of formal and informal sanctioning of group members. Subject populations include undergraduate students as well as professionals working in the Maine lobster and groundfish industries. This design enables a behavioral comparison between students and professionals, as well as a comparison between professionals in these two mutually exclusive fisheries. Results show that group size, communication, geographic separation and subjects' ability to solve the coordination game caused by this separation all contribute to appropriation efficiency on the commons.
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