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  The collective-risk social dilemma and the prevention of simulated dangerous climate change

Milinski, M., Sommerfeld, R. D., Krambeck, H.-J., Reed, F. A., & Marotzke, J. (2008). The collective-risk social dilemma and the prevention of simulated dangerous climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 105(7), 2291-2294. doi:10.1073/pnas.0709546105.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-D6E2-1 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-D6E3-0
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Milinski, Manfred1, Author              
Sommerfeld, Ralf D.1, Author              
Krambeck, Hans-Jürgen2, Author              
Reed, Floyd A.3, Author              
Marotzke, Jochem, Author
Affiliations:
1Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_1445634              
2Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_976547              
3Research Group Population Genetics, Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_1445646              

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Free keywords: cooperation; public good; threshold
 Abstract: Will a group of people reach a collective target through individual contributions when everyone suffers individually if the target is missed? This "collective-risk social dilemma" exists in various social scenarios, the globally most challenging one being the prevention of dangerous climate change. Reaching the collective target requires individual sacrifice, with benefits to all but no guarantee that others will also contribute. It even seems tempting to contribute less and save money to induce others to contribute more, hence the dilemma and the risk of failure. Here, we introduce the collective-risk social dilemma and simulate it in a controlled experiment: Will a group of people reach a fixed target sum through successive monetary contributions, when they know they will lose all their remaining money with a certain probability if they fail to reach the target sum? We find that, under high risk of simulated dangerous climate change, half of the groups succeed in reaching the target sum, whereas the others only marginally fail. When the risk of loss is only as high as the necessary average investment or even lower, the groups generally fail to reach the target sum. We conclude that one possible strategy to relieve the collective-risk dilemma in high-risk situations is to convince people that failure to invest enough is very likely to cause grave financial loss to the individual. Our analysis describes the social window humankind has to prevent dangerous climate change.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2008-02-19
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: -
 Identifiers: eDoc: 367891
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0709546105
Other: 2621/S 38800
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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
  Alternative Title : PNAS
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 105 (7) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 2291 - 2294 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424