Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

The Creation of Social Norms Under Weak Institutions

Date and Time
Monday, October 21, 2019 - 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Grainger Hall, Room 2102
The Creation of Social Norms Under Weak Institutions


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Overcoming the tragedy of the commons remains a key challenge for the sustainable management of natural resources. In settings where state institutions are weak, resource users have to rely on voluntary cooperation. Policies that aim to facilitate cooperation in such settings often turn to social norms as solutions.

In this talk, Florian Diekert, junior professor for resource and environmental economics at the University of Heidelberg, will present details of a lab-in-the-field experiment with fishers at Lake Victoria, Tanzania, to test whether the provision of varying social information leads to different social norms of cooperation. The study highlights the importance of local feedback mechanisms that increase the incentives to conform when policy makers aim to leverage social norms to support cooperative behavior.

This talk is part of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University Program in Environmental Policy seminar series featuring leading experts discussing a variety of pressing environmentally focused topics. This talk is also sponsored by the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School of Public Policy.


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Florian Diekert’s work centers on humans and their inter-relations with the social and natural environment. With the help of the ERC Starting Grant “NATCOOP,” Diekert aims to generate a better understanding of how nature shapes preferences and incentives of economic agents and how this in turn affects common-pool resource management. Prior to joining Heidelberg University as junior professor, Diekert worked as a post-doc at the University of Oslo, where he also received his PhD in 2011.