Schweizerische Nationalbank
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Common pool resources

Common pool resources


This unit deals with the overuse of shared resources; various possible solutions are discussed.

  • The ‘Fishpond’ group game is played with the whole class.
  • The associated exercises can be differentiated to suit the level of the class.
  • A projector is required.
  • The game masks can be ordered or downloaded.

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Other languages
German, French, Italian
Prior knowledge of teacher
Training recommended
Lesson duration
2–4 lessons

Anonymity, Common pool resources, Economic types of goods, Environmental problems, Externalities, Free riding, Incentives, Internalisation, Market failure, Overuse, Private goods, Public goods, Role of the state, Scarcity of resources, Social norms, The common good, Tragedy of the commons



Johannes Binswanger, SIAW-HSG
Petra Gerlach, SNB

Educational consulting
Markus Ulrich, UCS Ulrich Creative Simulations GmbH
Roman Capaul, University of St. Gallen
Beatrix Winistörfer-Hafen, Environmental Education, Hochschule Wädenswil

Design of printed material
clearbrand gmbh, Zurich

Translation & proofreading
SNB Language Services

Game development
UCS Ulrich Creative Simulations

Design of game masks
Fauxpas Grafik GmbH, Zurich

Production of game masks
Mattenbach AG

Commentary for teachers (PDF, 91 KB)
Unit information


Fishpond explained
Fishpond explained
Slides for teachers
Slides for teachers
Score sheet for players
Score sheet for players
Worksheet 1
Worksheet 1
Worksheet 2
Worksheet 2
Knowledge test
Knowledge test
Advanced question
Advanced question
Knowledge sheet
Knowledge sheet


In this game, students are asked to fish in a pond with limited capacity. The masks for the game can be downloaded as a PDF or ordered using the link below.


Marginal Revolution University. The Tragedy of the Commons
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Additional information (1)

Public goods and market failure