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Can reminders of rules induce compliance? Experimental evidence from a common pool resource setting.

Eisenbarth, Sabrina and Graham, Louis and Rigterink, Anouk S. (2021) 'Can reminders of rules induce compliance? Experimental evidence from a common pool resource setting.', Environmental and resource economics., 79 (4). pp. 653-681.


This paper presents results from an RCT exploring whether a behavioural intervention can improve the conservation of a common pool resource. The literature on common pool resource management suggests that the existence of rules and sanctions is important to resource conservation. However, behavioural science suggests that individuals have finite cognitive capacity and may not be attentive to these rules and sanctions. This paper investigates the impact of an SMS message intervention designed to improve users’ knowledge of and attentiveness to existing forest use rules. An RCT in Uganda explores the impact of these messages on forest use and compliance with the rules. This paper fnds that SMS messages raise the perceived probability of sanctions for rule-breakers. However, SMS messages do not induce full compliance with forest use rules or systematically reduce forest use.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date accepted:16 November 2020
Date deposited:16 December 2020
Date of first online publication:11 December 2020
Date first made open access:16 December 2020

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