Cooperative solutions for sustainable resource management

Raul P. Lejano, Climis A. Davos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many environmental management issues can be defined as allocation problems, e.g., the allocation of rights to use common-pool resources or the allocation of the cost of regional resource development projects. The allocation methods developed in the area of cooperative n-person game theory are most appropriate for these problems because they focus on the conditions for engendering and sustaining the necessary cooperation among the involved stakeholders. These solution concepts seek to ensure that the allocation is based on some norm of equity and, most often, also to minimize the incentive for any player to defect from the cooperative venture. We illustrate these solution concepts with an application to a water resource project in Southern California. We argue how the rigorous mathematical nature of these solution concepts should not hinder their application to actual situations and how, with the use of heuristic rules and inexact notions of comparable worths, we can employ these concepts even in approximate fashion. We remind ourselves that the goal of such an endeavor is to convince stakeholders of the equity of a proposed solution and, in so doing, maximize the prospect of sustained cooperation. The alternative to cooperation, on the other hand, maybe endless stalemate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Common-pool resources
  • Core
  • Equity
  • Game theory
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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