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Happiness and Cooperation

Eugenio Proto, Daniel Sgroi and Mahnaz Nazneen
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Eugenio Proto: University of Warwick, CAGE and IZA
Mahnaz Nazneen: University of Warwick

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: According to existing research across several disciplines (management, psychology, economics and neuroscience), positive mood can have positive effects, engendering more altruistic, open and helpful behaviour, but can also work though a more negative channel by inducing inward-orientation, assertiveness, and reduced use of information. This leaves the impact on cooperation in interactive and strategic situations unclear. We find evidence from 490 participants in a laboratory experiment suggesting that participants in an induced positive mood cooperate less in a repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma than participants in a neutral setting. This is robust to the number of repetitions or the inclusion of pre-play communication. In order to understand why positive mood might damage the propensity to cooperate, we conduct a language analysis of the pre-play communication between players. This analysis indicates that subjects in a more positive mood use more inward-oriented and more negative language which supports the negative channel.

Keywords: positive mood; affect; happiness; mood induction procedures; co-operation; repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma; social preferences; social dilemmas; cognitive skills; productivity; inward-orientation; language analysis JEL Classification: C72 (cooperative games); C91 (laboratory experiments); D91 (role and effects of psychological; emotional; social; and cognitive factors on decision making); J24 (productivity); J28 (life satisfaction) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big, nep-exp, nep-neu and nep-soc
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