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The impact of social and ecological factors on environmentally responsible behavior

Liu, Chang-Jiang, Hao, Fang
Journal of cleaner production 2020 v.254 pp. 120173
climatic factors, dissociation, fish, fishery resources, leadership, overfishing, social factors
Exploring the possibility of self-governance of common-pool resources has received increasing attention in the literature. In echoing to this issue, the current study attempts to investigate the effects of ecological conditions on individuals’ environmentally responsible behavior, and to examine the role of leadership in managing resource deterioration in a small group. An ocean fishing experimental task, with different climate conditions and resource regeneration rates, was used to simulate a commons dilemma. Moreover, the role that participants played was manipulated. The results show a dissociation effect of the two ecological conditions: A low regeneration rate of fishery resources prevented participants from exploiting the fish stocks, whereas a deteriorated climate condition encouraged participants to overfish. Moreover, the results show that, when the regeneration rate of fishery resources was lower, the deteriorated climate condition led the crews to restrain themselves less than the neutral climate condition. The deteriorated climate condition led the captains to maintain the same high level of self-restraint as the neutral climate condition. In summary, the findings of the present study suggest that the assumption of a leadership position encourages people to protect common-pool resources, especially under critical situations. This study contributes to our understanding of the feasibility of self-governance of common-pool resources in small groups.