Anomitro Chatterjee will be discussing the paper Deterring extraction from the commons: Evidence from a lab experiment


Resource management programs use monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms to enforce rules governing harvest from common pool resources. The existing literature provides mixed evidence regarding the effectiveness of probability of detection versus severity of sanctions in the enforcement of regulations. In a controlled laboratory experiment, I vary these two classic deterrence parameters, while keeping expected penalties constant. I test their relative efficacy under four alternative compliance regimes that vary how allowable harvest quotas are determined. Controlling for individual risk attitudes, my main findings are (i) monitoring and sanctioning mechanisms reduce socially detrimental harvest, (ii) a higher probability of monitoring is more effective than an equivalent increase in the severity of sanctions, (iii) a combination of fines and rewards is more effective than fines alone in reducing socially detrimental harvest, and (iv) monitoring and sanctions are more effective on free-riders than on conditional cooperators and altruists. These findings suggest that compliance regimes should focus on increasing the probability of detecting violations instead of increasing penalties conditional on detection. Further, these mechanisms should be implemented in contexts characterized by relatively high levels of free riding in strategic choice.

Antonio Avila-Uribe, Daire McCoy, Ganga Shreedhar will be discussing the paper Perceptions of air pollution exposure: Evidence from a survey experiment in the UK 

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK with 28,000 – 36,000 deaths per year being attributed to long term exposure to air pollution. In the UK, the Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI) is often used to inform people about ambient air pollution levels and its associated health risks. However, we know relatively little about how this information affects people’s perception of air quality and their avoidance behavior. We use a pre-registered online survey experiment in London and Birmingham to examine whether revealing information about average ambient air quality affects individuals’ perception of air pollution exposure. We elicit perceptions of air pollution exposure in three distinct micro-environments – (i) indoor, (ii) in people’s neighbourhoods, and (iii) on their commute to work. The data reveals four main findings. First, people perceive air quality to be lower indoors compared to their immediate neighbourhood, or on their commute to work. Second, information about ambient air quality in respondents’ cities reduces perceived DAQI in all three micro-environments. Third, we match residence location of survey respondents with estimated ambient air quality at the postcode level in the city of London to show that information provision reduces the perception-reality gap over pollution at the postcode level but does not eliminate it completely. Finally, we show that people with self-reported pre-existing health conditions perceive greater risks from air pollution exposure, while older individuals without health issues have lower perceived risk, even though they are more vulnerable to air pollution health risks.

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