Here there be dragons


You're going to wish you were taking my class on Tuesday - it's going to be a blast and a half. I'm putting them in five groups of three to learn about the logic of collective action. Here's part of the activity instructions -
Congratulations! Your group has been elected by the people of Delta, one of the five independent states on CTY Island, to run the government of the state. The voters have told you their two main priorities – protecting your state from dragon attacks, but also building an island-wide system of roads to allow for the exchange of consumer goods between all the states on CTY Island.

You begin your first month in office with 10 resource points. Each month in office (a turn), you will have the chance to spend as many of your resource points as you wish for the Island Defense Fund, the Road Network Fund, or both. You may also choose to keep your resources in your mattress and not spend them on either defense or roads. You can increase your resource points by engaging in economic exchanges (which require a road network), but you will lose points if dragons are able to break through CTY Island’s defenses (which will happen if the defense fund is too low).

NO OTHER TEAM WILL KNOW WHAT YOU SPENT YOUR RESOURCES ON, OR WHETHER YOU SPENT ANY AT ALL. In fact, you may find that deceit, trickery, and bald-faced lying are useful techniques for preserving your resources.

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