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CeDEx 2014-12: Conditioning on What? Heterogeneous Contributions and Conditional Cooperation

Abstract

We experimentally investigate how different information about others’ individual contributions affects conditional cooperators’ willingness to cooperate in a one-shot linear public goods game. We find that when information about individual contributions is provided, contributions are generally higher than when only average information is available. This effect is particularly strong when others’ individual contributions are relatively homogeneous. When both types of information are provided, this effect is moderated. In the case of individual feedback we find the willingness to contribute to be higher the lower the variation in others' contributions, but with pronounced heterogeneity in individuals’ reactions. While the majority of conditional cooperators’ are mainly guided by others’ average contributions, more people follow the bad example of a low contributor than the good example of a high contributor. Overall, we provide evidence that information (and lack thereof) about others’ individual contributions affects conditional cooperators’ willingness to cooperate in systematic ways.

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Now published in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics Vol 55, April 2015, pages 48-64

Authors

Björn Hartig, Bernd Irlenbusch and Felix Kölle

 

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Posted on Saturday 1st November 2014

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