The survival of the conformist: Social pressure and renewable resource management

Alessandro Tavoni, Maja Schlüter, Simon Asher Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


This paper examines the role of other-regarding behavior as a mechanism for the establishment and maintenance of cooperation in resource use under variable social and environmental conditions. By coupling resource stock dynamics with social dynamics concerning compliance to a social norm prescribing non-excessive resource extraction in a common pool resource, we show that when reputational considerations matter and a sufficient level of social stigma affects the violators of a norm, sustainable outcomes are achieved. We find large parameter regions where norm-observing and norm-violating types coexist, and analyze to what extent such coexistence depends on the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-161
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - Apr 21 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Common pool resource
  • Cooperation
  • Evolutionary game theory
  • Ostracism
  • Social norm


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