Currently, we investigate two aspects of cooperation:

  1. Factors of success in sustainably managing common pool resources
    This project seeks to answer the question why some institutions established to manage common resources prosper almost indefinitely while others collapse due to individual egoism in a “tragedy of the commons”. Through the use of neural networks we aim to map precisely the factors relevant for the operations of commons-groups around the world, providing accurate prognoses of and practical advice for their future success.
  2. Public Goods Games
    A complimentary approach to analysing cooperation efforts in local communities in real life is our work in the lab.
    Here, we use a well-known standard of experimental economics, the public goods game. In public goods games the social dilemma between contributing to the good of the group – which is the desired outcome in social terms – or keeping resources for oneself is a decision completely up to the players.

    Under which conditions do most people cooperate? Is it possible to induce humans to cooperate sustainably over long periods on a high level? Which mechanisms – preferably cheap and easy to implement – are required for such a result? Answers to these questions are at the centre of our research.