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Cooperation of Pairs

Markus Sass (), Florian Timme () and Joachim Weimann ()
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Markus Sass: Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
Florian Timme: Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany
Joachim Weimann: Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106 Magdeburg, Germany

Games, 2018, vol. 9, issue 3, 1-34

Abstract: To examine the stability of prosocial behavior in groups and pairs, we use an indirect approach. We conducted linear public good experiments with two and four subjects repeatedly three times at intervals of one week. All experiments were carried out without providing feedback and used a payment mechanism promoting stable behavior. We study the dynamics of behavior in repeated sessions and find that pairs are much better at establishing and stabilizing cooperation than groups of four. Furthermore, we conducted all experiments in a partner and a stranger design. As is known from the literature, cooperation in a stranger design should be lower than in a partner design. Once again, we are interested in the differences of the strength of this cooperation reducing effect between pairs and groups. Unlike pairs, groups show very low contributions to the public good in the stranger treatment and display a strong tendency to decrease cooperation in the partner treatment. The results in all treatments demonstrate that decreasing cooperation is a stable pattern of behavior in dynamic social dilemma contexts. Finally, we conducted a norm elicitation experiment using a method introduced by Krupka and Weber (2013) and find that in pairs symmetric behavior plays a very important role.

Keywords: repeated public good experiments; group size effects; moral self-licensing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C C7 C70 C71 C72 C73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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