Abstract for: Beyond the tragedy of ‘open access’: An exploratory model of governance rules for the commons (Best Poster Award Winner)

This paper reflects on past system dynamics studies of the commons problem. A gap is found in the literature as there are no explicit endogenous models of governance rules for the commons. Thus, an exploratory model of two users extracting a forest for firewood is presented, with special emphasis on their group decision-making process. The aim of this model is to present one example of governance rules that solve the commons problem and analyze its dynamical implications. Results show the importance of governing rules for mediating the effect of population pressure and market mechanisms on the sustainability of the commons. Non-compliance to governing rules, which can be triggered by significant perception delays, drops in efficiency or increases in demand leads to highly unstable behavior in the model. Overall, governance rules for the commons prove to be fertile ground for further study using system dynamics.