The mechanism through which exit options and outside opportunities affect cooperation outcomes has not been well studied in the resource management literature, since a deep analysis of the concepts of “exit options” and “outside opportunities” is missing. This article analyzes these concepts across the common pool resource management literature, investigates the factors that underlie “opting out” decisions, and reviews potential ways to operationalize these concepts for empirical analysis. It also explores how the relationship of cooperation and exit options may be influenced by broad economic processes, such as economic integration.
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