The Development of the Willingness to Cooperate: Collective-Action under the Light of the Constructivist Conception of Adult Development

Along with the changes experienced in the landscape of global agricultural and food systems there is a rising pressure upon the open-access, common-pool resources and ecological environments of the globe. While the conventional theory underlies the vision of a tragedy, and fosters Leviathan-like remedies to overcome problems of overexploitation and destruction of the commons, growing evidence from field studies has called for a serious rethinking of the theoretical foundations for the analysis of collective-action problems. Yet, in moving beyond the conventional view, the lack of a theory of human valuation hinders both the prediction of agents’ variable responses to similar incentive structures and the development of a more general theory of collective-action. In this study, we test experimentally the explanatory power of a constructivist developmental model of adult personality systems which is particularly suitable for addressing situations where the individual and the collective gains conflict. The results suggest that the model provides a valuable source of information for the advancement of the theory of collective-action and has important implications for the development of intuitions aimed at overcoming social dilemmas.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
C72; C92; D74
The paper presents experimental results connecting the participant’s behaviors in a common-pool resource dilemma, including communication and sanctioning conditions, with the constructs in a selected theory of adult personality systems development including value judgment and moral reasoning.
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Contributed Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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