Children and the Commons Dilemma1


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    The research was supported by the Social Science Research Council of Canada and the University of Victoria. The author wishes to thank Tim Sackmann and Joanne Robertson for serving as experimenters.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Robert Gifford, Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, P. O. Box 1700, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8W 2Y2.


The management of a commons dilemma analog by same-age, same-sex groups of children from age 3 to age 16 was examined. The effectiveness of commons dilemma management by the groups was greater than expected. Effectiveness increased with age and from one period to another. There were no sex differences, but a significant age x sex interaction indicated that girls manage the commons better in the younger groups and boys manage it better in the older groups.