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Bartoš, Vojtěch (2018): Seasonal Scarcity and Sharing Norms. Collaborative Research Center Transregio 190, Discussion Paper No. 115


How does scarcity affect individual willingness to share and willingness to enforce sharing from others? Sharing in poor communities gains importance as an insurance mechanism during adverse shocks, yet shocks make it costlier to share. I conducted repeated economic experiments in both a lean and a relatively plentiful post-harvest season with the same group of Afghan subsistence farmers experiencing annual seasonal scarcities. I separate altruistic motives from enforcement effects using dictator and third party punishment games. While altruistic sharing remains temporally stable, the enforcement of sharing weakens substantially in times of scarcity. Temporal norms fluctuations seem to drive the results.