Norm-driven cooperation in the commons

We developed an evolutionary game theoretic model of cooperation in common pool resource use facilitated by a norm of sustainable resource extraction (the TSL model). Norm violators who extract more than the norm are subject to social disapproval. The community can sustainably manage the resource if the initial number of norm violators is low and the degree of norm violation is not too high. When norm violations and initial number of cooperators are high a stable mixed equilibrium can pertain (Tavoni et al. 2012). It is however, sensitive to increased resource availability or small fluctuations which destabilize cooperation (Lade et al. 2012, Schlüter et al. 2016). Large resource fluctions, on the contrary, stabilize cooperation.

We also developed an agent-based version of the TSL model (CP-norm) to investigate the mechansims that lead to resource collapse when resource availability fluctuates and to study cooperation in two neighboring communities that are linked through resource leakage.


Schlüter,M., Tavoni A., Levin S. (2016) Robustnessof norm-driven cooperation in the commons. Proc. R. Soc. B 283:20152431

Lade S, Tavoni A, Levin SA, Schlüter M (2013). Regime shifts in asocial-ecological system. Journal of Theoretical Ecology. 6:359–372

Tavoni A, Schlüter M, Levin S (2012). The survival of the conformist: social pressure andrenewable resource management. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 299,152-161. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.07.003

Models: a netlogo version of CP-norm can be found at (courtesy of Ruth Meyer)