Multilevel conflicts over forest governance under a game-theory perspective: the Great Bear Rainforest case examined.

Sara Lorenzini (University of Milan)


Forests are multifunctional collective goods (Frischmann, 2012; Chiappero, Von Jacobi and Fabbri, 2015) that exist at multiple spatial, temporal and jurisdictional scales (Geores, 2003). Because of the wide range of goods and services they provide, forests governance is usually at the root of multiple-level conflicts (Matiru, 2000; Bennett et al., 2001; Nelson et al., 2009; White et al., 2009) that, however, can be turned into a positive force for institutional innovation if properly handled.

By studying the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) case (Armstrong, 2009; Cashore et al., 2011; Howlett et al., 2009; Raitio, 2012; Raitio and Saarikoski, 2013; Sranko, 2011) under a game-theory perspective, this paper aims at creating a model to demonstrate how cross-scale (Berkes, 2002) institutional interactions can become an opportunity to develop integrative conflict management solutions. Specifically, the focus is on the ex-post phase, that is compliance with the agreement.

With this objective, I apply Degli Antoni and Sacconi’s model (2013) and demonstrate that as in their case, ex-post conformity can be explained by (a) strong stakeholders coming into play and (b) introduction of psychological utility (Geanakoplos, Pearce and Stacchetti, 1989; Rabin, 1993) that can shape conformity preferences (Grimalda & Sacconi, 2005;2007; Cecchini Manara & Sacconi, 2019b;2021). Additionally, through an extension of their model, I also show the crucial role of weakest parties’ organizational capacity and mobilization. Importantly, these elements together allow for a new Psychological Nash Equilibrium to emerge that is not just environmentally conscious but also socially fair.

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