“Social Dilemmas, Inequality and Compliance: Evidence from Experiments”
by Lata Gangadharan
Abstract: Tensions between private and social interests give rise to social dilemmas. We first examine situations where some individuals enjoy greater benefits from the environmental public good than others. We show that normative conflict induced by inequality can be difficult to overcome, imposing limits on the ability of heterogeneous populations to reach efficient outcomes through self-governance. An environmental tax and redistribution mechanism can help resolve the trade-off between efficiency and inequality and also eliminate the observed perverse effect of social information and observability on cooperation. Next, we turn towards regulatory compliance and examine the role of different schemes, notably those based on competition, principle-agent contracts, or peer networks, in improving compliance.
Bio: Lata Gangadharan is a Professor of Economics and Joe Isaac Chair of Business and Economics at Monash University. She is an experimental and behavioural economist. A key focus of her research has been on developing novel experimental methods to study economic and social institutions. Her recent research focuses on incentives and preferences and addresses the following topics: peer sanctioning to mitigate the effect of social and environmental dilemmas, propensity for prosocial and antisocial behaviour, incentives for compliance and auditing, and gender and social identity. Her research has been published in several general interest and field journals, such as, Science, Nature Communications, American Economic Review, European Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Experimental Economics and Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization. She is currently a Co-Editor of Experimental Economics and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.