Curriculum Vitae
Course Web Pages
Econ 333: Experimental
Econ 351: Public Finance
Econ 494: Math Econ
Resources for Teaching
Class experiments
Hand-run double auction
Local enforcement of
environmental resources
Univ. of Alaska Anchorage
Experimental Economics
Economics Dept.
Institute for Social &
Economic Research
College of Business &
Public Policy

An Experiment on Enforcement Strategies
for Managing a Local Environmental Resource

Web Supplement

Journal of Economic Education, forthcoming
Click here to download a copy of the paper (pdf format)

James J. Murphy
Department of Economics
University of Alaska Anchorage
murphy AT uaa.alaska.edu
<replace AT with @>

Juan-Camilo Cardenas
School of Environmental and Rural Studies
Javeriana University
Bogotá, Colombia
jccarden AT javeriana.edu.co
<replace AT with @>


This web page contains all the material you need to run the classroom experiment, either the hand-run version described in the article, or a computer network version that we have also developed.


In managing local environmental resources, moderately enforced government regulations can often be counter-productive, whereas non-binding communications can be remarkably effective. This article describes a hand-run classroom experiment that illustrates these points. The experiment is rich in its institutional settings and highlights the challenges that policymakers and communities face in enforcing environmental regulations. The experiment has been run successfully in a variety of courses and disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including microeconomics, public finance, and a natural resources conservation course. Other courses for which the experiment would be appropriate include environmental economics and game theory. The same experiment has also been used in the field with the villagers who actually face challenges similar to experiment; the field results are comparable to those in the classroom.

Experiment materials

Below we have posted all of the files you will need to run the experiment in class.

  • Spreadsheet for running the experiment
    • This spreadsheet was written with Excel 2000. It is designed for two groups (yellow and blue) of up to eight students per group. If you have more than two groups, just use multiple copies of the spreadsheet.
    • Click here for some notes on using the spreadsheet.

  • Instructions for students
    • We usually give the instructions to the students a few days before the experiment and ask them not to discuss the experiment among themselves. Students usually honor this request. This rich-text file includes the payoff table for the students.

  • Payoff Table
    • This spreadsheet is for the instructor and was created with Excel 2000. It includes the payoff table that should be given students. It also includes a separate worksheet with the Nash best responses highlighted for the treatments with and without regulation. These worksheets are useful for the discussion afterwards. If you do not have Excel, click here to download a rich-text version that can be opened with most word processors.

  • Experiment Cards
    • Each student uses this card to submit his or her decision. You will need enough cards so that each student has one card for each period.

  • Student Record Sheet
    • Each student uses this sheet to keep track of his or her decisions.

  • Monitoring Rules
    • Each student gets a copy of these rules at the start of the Regulation treatment.

Computer network version of the experiment

We have also developed a computer version of this experiment. To run this software, you need to have access to a computer lab with TCP/IP installed. All the computers must be on the same sub-net, i.e., all must have the same first 3 groups of numbers in the IP address (e.g., 128.196.127.XXX). There are two separate programs: EnviroSubject and EnviroMonitor. The EnviroSubject program is for the students and should be installed on each computer, and the EnviroMonitor program is for the instructor. The monitor program only needs to be installed on a single computer. We have also put together instructions on how to install and run the program. Click on the links below to download the files:

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