THE RISE AND FALL OF COMPETITIVENESS: Experimental Evidence from Individualistic and Collectivistic Societies
Andreas Leibbrandt () and
John List ()
Natural Field Experiments from The Field Experiments Website
Competitiveness pervades life: plants compete for sunlight and water, animals for territory and food, and humans for mates and income. Here we investigate human competitiveness with a natural experiment and a set of behavioral experiments. We compare competitiveness in traditional fishing societies where local natural forces determine whether fishermen work in isolation or in collectives. We find sharp evidence that fishermen from individualistic societies are far more competitive than fishermen from collectivistic societies and that this difference emerges with work experience. These findings suggest that humans can evolve traits to specific needs, support the idea that socio-ecological factors play a decisive role for individual competitiveness, and provide evidence how individualistic and collectivistic societies shape economic behaviour.
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