The working group “Institutional and Behavioural Economics” analyses the interactions between resource users, the governance system and ecological peculiarities within complex social-ecological systems in the marine tropics, using empirical methods of qualitative case studies and experimental economics (natural, field and laboratory experiments). At the centre of attention are the questions of how formal and informal institutions affect decision-making of resource users who frequently face trade-offs between economic and ecological goals, how these institutions change and how they should be designed in order to reconcile ecological, social and economic sustainability.
Institutions are central for understanding collective action and economic exchange. Following prominent scholars in this field, we understand institutions as human-made and widely shared rules that help people coordinating interactions with others, encompassing formal (written) rules, such as laws and policies, and informal ones, such as norms or customs. A main research focus of the IBE working group lies on the analysis of how institutions affect decision-making of resource users in coastal areas. What are appropriate property rights systems to ensure sustainable use? How should the extraction from environmental goods with characteristics of common-pool resources (e.g. fishing grounds) or public-goods be regulated? What are the potentials of community-based management schemes for the sustainable management of coastal areas? What drives institutional change in coastal areas? What kind of rules help to alleviate problems of overfishing or ocean pollution? These and related questions of policy relevance are addressed by the IBE working group.
The theoretical point of origin in our work is the assumption that individuals have incomplete information about other people’s preferences, the full range of possible actions and the probabilities associated with each outcome resulting from an action. Moreover, individual decision-making is context specific, implying that a policy that works well in one society may not necessarily have the same behavioural consequences in another society where norms or customs are different. Having this in mind, the IBE working group analyses how resource users’ willingness to cooperate and other behavioural aspects relevant to joint resource management change, depending on ecological and institutional context factors.
Prof. Dr. Achim Schlüter
Micaela Maria Kulesz
Gabriela Weber de Morais
Former group members:
Luz Elba Torres
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Evolution of Cooperation in Social-Ecological Systems
Collective Use of Sea-Turtle-Eggs
Collective action for the management of the fishery in an estuarine lagoon in the Caribbean Coast of Colombia: The case of Tasajera
Development of economic regulatory mitigation strategies for offsetting peatland carbon emissions
Governance of Marine Protected Areas in Costa Rica: stability and change of institutions
Increasing the Use of Canvas Bags in Indonesia
Resource Changes and Cooperative Behaviour
Temporal dilemma, individual time preferences and marine resource extraction
Contributing to Coral Commons
New Regional Formations
RECODE: Diagnosing and comparing diverse social-ecological systems