Regional identity and intergenerational resource conflict

Evidence from Guinea

Dr. Klarizze Puzon will present preliminary findings from a forthcoming working paper on 'Regional identity and intergenerational resource conflict — Evidence from Guinea' to an audience at the Philippines Center for Economic Development and the University of the Philippines Department of Economics. The novel research methods Klarizze Puzon deploys in this research project – relying on experimental games – are of great interest to the broader economic and development research community.  

Abstract

We examine the impact of regional fragmentation and ethnicity on behavior in an intergenerational game of non-renewable resource extraction. The dynamic game has a new generation of players every period. It is characterized by shocks endogenously caused by players’ extraction decisions. After a given threshold, the common-pool resource suddenly drops to lower values.

We present a two-player, framed field experiment on a sample of Fulani (ethnic majority group) and Malinke (minority group) participants in Guinea-Conakry, Sub-Saharan Africa. We frame instructions in the context of bauxite, the natural resource that Guinea’s economy is heavily dependent on. Our main treatment variable is the ethnically-inclined region of origin of the two players. Preliminary observations suggest that regional fragmentation significantly affects the behavior of the majority group, the Fulani. Across time, Fulani tribal members tend to choose lower extraction rates, are less likely to deplete the resource, and thus implicitly more concerned of future generations. This is more prevalent when they are paired with a player of the same social identity as theirs.