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Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be averted

Posted on 2016.12.26 at 23:14
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Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be averted

Lake Lanier in Georgia is the primary water reservoir serving suburban and metropolitan Atlanta. When the lake's water level drops below a certain point, calls go out for water conservation and news reports show images of the red mud shoreline. In some affected counties, water restrictions are imposed. The combination of usage restrictions and changes in precipitation eventually averts the crisis. But, when the crisis ends, water usage rebounds - until the next shortage.

Inspired by this example, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a theory to unite the study of behavior and its effect on the environment. In doing so, they combined theories of strategic behavior with those of resource depletion and restoration, leading to what they term an "oscillating tragedy of the commons." The research is reported in November 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences....


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