We study experimentally a two-stage common pool resource game. In the first stage, selected members of the group determine the level of protection for the resource. The protected fraction of the resource is equally shared among group members. In the second stage, the unprotected fraction of the resource is competed for. We consider three institutions varying in the extent by which subjects participate in the first stage: vote (all group members participate), dictator (only one member decides), and exogenous (no-one participates). We also vary the initial level of the resource: scarce or abundant. We establish the following results. First, we find that the voting institution provides more frequent protection and leads to higher protection levels than the dictatorial institution. In addition, higher protection tends to temper rent seeking for the unprotected fraction of the resource for both institutions. Second, rent-seeking intensifies after a resource boom, but this effect is non-significant under the vote institution. Finally, rent-seeking is larger when the level of the resource is high, but this tendency is sharply reduced under the vote institution.