Abstract for:Competing for scarce resources during humanitarian emergencies

Humanitarian Organizations (HOs) often compete for scarce resources during emergency response, causing negative and undesirable effects, such as inadequate coordination, effort duplication and reduced operational performance. This research considers the competition for scarce resources from a common pool resources (CPRs) perspective. Through the development of a laboratory experiment, we analyze participants’ behavior when they consider beneficiary suffering and HOs' operational costs. We find that participants build up excessive capacity, speeding up the response, but also intensifying competition among HOs and reducing the effectiveness of the response. We conclude with a discussion of practical implications and opportunities for future research.