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Journal Articles

TURFs in the lab: Institutional Innovation in dynamic interactive spatial commons

Janssen, M.A., and E. Ostrom

2008 Rationality and Society 20(4): 371-397.


Using a real-time, spatial, renewable resource environment, we observe participants in a set of experiments formulating informal rules during communication sessions over three decision rounds. In all three rounds, the resource is open access. Without communication, the resource is persistently and rapidly depleted. With face-to-face communication, we observe informal arrangements to divide up space and slow down the harvesting rate in various ways. We observe that experienced participants, who have participated in an earlier experiment where private property was used as one way of controlling harvesting in this renewable resource environment, are more effective in creating rules, although they mimic the private-property regime of their prior experience. Inexperienced participants need an extra round to reach the same level of resource use, but they craft diverse arrays of novel rule sets.

Keywords: common-pool resources; laboratory experiments; communication; institutional innovation


Evolution of cooperation and altruistic punishment when retaliation is possible

Janssen, M.A. and C. Bushman

2008 Journal of Theoretical Biology 254(3):541-545.


Altruistic punishment is suggested to explain observed high levels of cooperation among non-kin related humans. However, laboratory experiments as well as ethnographic evidence suggest that people might retaliate if being punished, and that this reduces the level of cooperation. Building on existing models on the evolution of cooperation and altruistic punishment, we explore the consequences of the option of retaliation. We find that cooperation and altruistic punishment does not evolve with larger population levels if the option of retaliation is included.

Keywords: Public good games; Group selection


Effect of rule choice in dynamic interactive spatial commons

Janssen, M.A., R.L. Goldstone, F. Menczer and E. Ostrom

2008 International Journal of the Commons 2(2): 288-312.


This paper uses laboratory experiments to examine the effect of an endogenous rule change from open access to private property as a potential solution to overharvesting in commons dilemmas. A novel, spatial, real-time renewable resource environment was used to investigate whether participants were willing to invest in changing the rules from an open access situation to a private property system. We found that half of the participants invested in creating private property arrangements. Groups who had experienced private property in the second round of the experiment, made different decisions in the third round when open access was reinstituted in contrast to groups who experienced three rounds of open access. At the group level, earnings increased in Round 3, but this was at a cost of more inequality. No significant differences in outcomes occurred between experiments where rules were imposed by the experimental design or chosen by participants.

Keywords: system resources, theoretical analysis, Common-pool resources, institutional change, laboratory experiments, open access, private property


Towards a Community Framework for Agent-based Modeling

Janssen, M.A., C.M. Barton, L.N. Alessa, S. Bergin, and A. Lee

2008 Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 11: 2(6).


Agent-based modelling has become an increasingly important tool for scholars studying social and social-ecological systems, but there are no community standards on describing, implementing, testing and teaching these tools. This paper reports on the establishment of the Open Agent-Based Modelling Consortium, www.openabm.org, a community effort to foster the agent-based modelling development, communication, and dissemination for research, practice and education.

Keywords: Replication, Documentation Protocol, Software Development, Standardization, Test Beds, Education, Primitives


Evolution of cooperation in a one-shot prisoner’s dilemma based on recognition of trustworthy and untrustworthy agents

Janssen, M.A.

2008 Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 65(3-4): 458-471.


This article explores the conditions under which agents will cooperate in one-shot two-player Prisoner’s Dilemma games if they are able to withdraw from playing the game and can learn to recognize the trustworthiness of their opponents. When the agents display a number of symbols and they learn which symbols are important to estimate the trustworthiness of others, agents will evolve who cooperate in games in line with experimental observations. These results are robust to significant levels of mutations and errors made by the players.

Keywords: Estimating trustworthiness; Cooperation; One-shot Prisoner’s Dilemma


Book Chapters

Agent-based analysis of dynamic industrial ecosystems: an introduction

Janssen, M.A.

2008 In Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems, edited by M. Ruth and B. Davidsdottir , pp 77-80, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

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