Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment / CBIE Working Papers / Diversity, Reciprocity, and the Emergence of Equity-Inequity Tradoff s

Diversity, Reciprocity, and the Emergence of Equity-Inequity Tradoff s

CBIE_WP-2015-003

Abstract

Reciprocity is a core institution that allows diverse individuals to engage in collective action. Collective action is essential to meet the goals of sustainable development. The twin goals of sustainable development are to protect the well-being of individuals and ecosystems in ways that are
socially just. These twin goals constitute the win-win paradigm. However, tradeoffs in social-ecological systems may limit collective action and, thus, make the win-win paradigm diffcult to achieve. To understand how and why this is the case, we need a better understanding of tradeoffs. In this paper, we use a model of specialization and exchange in an agro-ecological system to propose a typology of tradeoffs: functional, robustness-vulnerability, and equity-inequity tradeoffs. We especially focus on how the interaction of diverse capaibilities, resource abundance, and reciprocity in a social-agroecological system generates equity-inequity tradeoffs. In our model, a simple diversity of capabilities (even among actors with the same goals) who engage in reciprocal exchange produces equity-inequity tradeoffs. Equity-inequity tradeoffs underlie conflicts of interest and may favor winner take all scenarios, as opposed to win-wins. However, our analysis is not all bad news. If resources are abundant enough, we observe the potential for qualied win-wins.

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Published April 6, 2015

Jacob Freeman, Utah State University

Andrea Torvinen, Arizona State University, School of Human Evolution and Social Change

Ben A. Nelson, Arizona State University, School of Human Evolution and Social Change

John M. Anderies, Arizona State University, School of Sustainability/School of Human Evolution and Social Change