Summer Travel Grant 2014 Recipient
Anna Lou Abatayho
UH Student Affiliate
The workshop hosted by the University of Tampere, School of Social Sciences and Humanities (North American Studies Program) gathered scholars from different fields doing work on free markets. Scholars from within the North-American region as well as the European region gathered to exchange ideas and insights on the pros and cons of free markets and the solutions when these markets fail.In particular, the paper I presented used experimental methods to study the effects of rule-making on the cooperation of common pool resource users. The rival but non-excludable characteristic of the commons confers not only private benefit to the person who consumes it but also imposes both a private and a social cost. If common pool resource users ignore the social costs, too many resources will be consumed relative to the socially optimal quantity.
Elinor Ostrom, who won the Nobel Prize for her analysis of economic governance in the commons in 2009 studied situations like these in which free markets fail but where the solution was not government intervention. She looked at how institutions arose naturally from the behavior of individual economic subjects and how these institutions were able to mitigate over-consumption. Like Elinor Ostrom, the paper I presented looked at situations in which free markets fail but where all is not lost if the resource users are given the correct incentives to manage the resources better. Hence, my research topic, which is also the general topic of my dissertation, fit well with this year’s workshop theme.
I received valuable comments and suggestions from the workshop participants, both faculty and students. I was also able to network with individuals working on experiments in economics like Catherine Eckel and Charles Hot. This will prove to be most beneficial when I go to the economic job market in December.
The East-West Center Association (EWCA) and the EWCA Hawaii Chapter provided Travel Grants ($500 each) to 10 current East West Center students in the summer of 2014.