CBIE Research Projects


Lakes are microcosms of social-ecological systems. Lakes are subject to many different and conflicting uses and lake organizations are groups of residents who volunteer to solve collective action problems related to the multiple uses of lakes. As part of a NSF CNH project we study how lake organizations in Vilas County, Wisconsin are organized and how attributes of those organizations can explain differences in outcomes.

Managing political-economy of vulnerability in cities

A transition of the physical infrastructure to reduce vulnerability to extreme events will require changes in behavior, norms and regulations, but the dynamics of the physical infrastructure and human behavior are not synced. In collaboration with Hallie Eakin (ASU) and Luis Bojorquez (UNAM) we are developing models combining insights from the social science and engineering to explore transition pathways that are socially just and enable robustness of water delivery and flood protection in the long term.

Port of Mars

As part of ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative, CBIE is involved in exploring the challenges related to shared resource governance for a future habitat on Mars. A card game is developed to engage stakeholders in explore the consequences of governance, and to perform controlled experiments to study commons governance in extreme environments with high uncertainty.

Lab experiments of social-ecological systems

We have a long tradition using lab experiments studying social-ecological systems. For past work see https://gamesforsustainability.org/laboratory-experiments/. One of the current studies is in collaboration with Dan deCaro from the University of Louisville. In this NSF funded grant project we will measure how people perceive the process of the experiment with different types of communication in order to derive a better understanding why communication is so effective in avoiding the tragedy of the commons.

Governing Coffee Landscapes

In collaboration with Conservation International we are developing an agent-based model of sustainable coffee farming and supply chains in San Martin, Peru . Our initial focus is the spread and management of coffee rust.


A Research Network for Computational Modeling in the Socioecological Systems

This is a collaborative project with the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity at Arizona State University (http://csdc.asu.edu/) to establish a scientific research collaboration network to support and expand the development and use of computational modeling in the social and life sciences. The CoMSES network (COmputational Modeling for SocioEcological Science) aims to be broadly inclusive of social and natural scientists using (and desiring to use) advanced modeling to study coupled natural and human systems (CNH), or “socioecological systems” (SES).

Playing Games to Save Water: Lessons from Experiments in India

This is a collaborative project led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in collaboration with the Indian NGO Foundation for Ecological Security (FES). The goal of the project is to test whether participatory behavioral experiments on common resource decisions lead to measurable behavioral changes in groundwater use. The findings are also applied to forestry and ecosystem games.