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Trust and communication in a property rights dilemma

T.K. Ahn, Balafoutas Loukas, Mongoljin Batsaikhan, Campos-Ortiz, Francisco, Louis Putterman () and Matthias Sutter ()

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 149, issue C, 413-433

Abstract: We study in five diverse countries a laboratory social dilemma game in which incentives to steal from others lead to the socially inefficient diversion of resources from production unless the members of a given mini-society can abide by norms of non-theft or engage in low cost collective protection of their members’ wealth accumulations. We compare two treatments in which subjects have opportunities to exchange free-form messages to one without such opportunities, finding that most subjects allocate far less to theft and most groups achieve much greater efficiency in the presence of communication. Ease of identifying who has engaged in theft varies across the two communication treatments, but is of minor importance to the outcome. We find several coding-amenable elements of message content to be statistically significant predictors of group and individual outcomes. Contributing to the literature on culture, norms, and preferences, we find that the degree to which communication fosters cooperation varies among countries in a manner correlated with variation in survey based trust and with desistance from theft at the outset of our communication-free experiment treatment.

Keywords: Property rights; Theft; Efficiency; Experiment; Communication (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C92 D03 H41 P14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Trust and Communication in a Property Rights Dilemma (2016) Downloads
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:413-433