Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2012-18: Confusion and Learning in the Voluntary Contributions Game (revised version of 2009-08)


We use a limited information environment to assess the role of confusion in the repeated voluntary contributions game. A comparison with play in a standard version of the game suggests, that the common claim that decision errors due to confused subjects biases estimates of cooperation upwards, is not necessarily correct. Furthermore, we find that simple learning cannot generate the kind of contribution dynamics commonly attributed to the existence of conditional cooperators. We conclude that cooperative behavior and its decay observed in public goods games is not a pure artefact of confusion and learning.

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Now forthcoming in Experimental Economics

Online Appendix, November 2012, available.


Ralph-C Bayer, Elke Renner and Rupert Sausgruber


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Posted on Thursday 1st November 2012

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