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The sophistication of conditional cooperators: Evidence from public goods games

Francesco Fallucchi (), R. Andrew Luccasen III and Theodore Turocy ()
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R. Andrew Luccasen III: Mississippi University for Women.

No 20-01, Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) from School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Abstract: Experiments which elicit preferences for conditional cooperation in public goods games with linear payoffs find that about one-quarter of people approximately match the average contributions of others. To identify from among possible explanations proposed for this strong form of conditional cooperation, we extend the elicitation method of Fischbacher et al. (2001) and study voluntary contributions games with a broader range of economic and strategic incentives. We find that most strong conditional cooperators are sophisticated in responding to these incentives, by matching contributions only when doing so leads to an overall welfare improvement. Our data favour an account of conditional cooperation based on social norm compliance, and are not consistent with accounts in which these people are motivated by inequity aversion or warm-glow giving, or are confused about the economic incentives presented by the elicitation mechanism.

Keywords: public goods; conditional cooperation; sophistication; experiment. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D62 D71 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-exp and nep-gth
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