Paolo D'Odorico Discusses the Importance of a Shared Goal in New UC Berkeley Study

Featured Faculty: Paolo D'Odorico

In a sustainable future, a new UC Berkeley study led by CEE Professor Paolo D'Odorico reveals that it may not be every person for themself. Combining an online platform with a theoretical model, research from the UC Berkeley department of environmental science, policy, and management (ESPM) shows that cooperation toward a shared goal among individuals in a community can lead to the sustainable use of a "common-pool resource," a resource that is available to all despite its inherent scarcity.

D'Odorico, campus postdoctoral researcher Chengyi Tu, Zhe Li of the University of South China and Yunnan University, and the University of Padova associate professor Samir Suweis in the department of physics and astronomy wrote the research study. Working with the campus Experimental Social Science Laboratory, the researchers developed an online platform called the Systemic Sustainability Game. 

According to the study, players could choose between individual versus collective payoff and short-term versus long-term awards. Choosing between "cooperation" or "defection," participants could take their fair share to benefit the community or exceed their allocation. When participants had a shared goal in mind, researchers found that they were more likely to cooperate, according to D'Odorico.

Check out the article in The Daily Californian to learn more about their research findings!