An Experiment on Enforcement
for Managing a Local Environmental Resource
Journal of Economic Education, forthcoming
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 @>
School of Environmental and Rural Studies
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
Below we have posted all of the files you will need to run the
experiment in class.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Each student uses this sheet to keep track of his or her decisions.
- Each student gets a copy of these rules at the start of the
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: