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Cooperation in viscous populations--Experimental evidence

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  • Grimm, Veronika
  • Mengel, Friederike

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the effect of population viscosity (an increased probability to interact with others of one's type or group) on cooperation in a standard prisoner's dilemma environment. Subjects can repeatedly choose between two groups that differ in the defector gain in the associated prisoner's dilemma. Choosing into the group with the smaller defector-gain can signal one's willingness to cooperate. We find that viscosity produces an endogenous sorting of cooperators and defectors and persistently high rates of cooperation. Higher viscosity leads to a sharp increase in overall cooperation rates and in addition positively affects the subjects' preferences for cooperation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 66 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 202-220

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:66:y:2009:i:1:p:202-220

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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Keywords: Experiments Cooperation Group selection Norms Population viscosity;

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References

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  1. Dirk Engelmann & Veronika Grimm, 2006. "Overcoming Incentive Constraints? The (In-)effectiveness of Social Interaction," Working Paper Series in Economics 22, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  2. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bohnet, Iris & Kübler, Dorothea, 2000. "Compensating the cooperators: Is sorting in the prisoner's dilemma possible?," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,2, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  4. Coricelli, Giorgio & Fehr, Dietmar & Fellner, Gerlinde, 2004. "Partner Selection in Public Goods Experiments," Economics Series 151, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  5. Myerson, Roger B. & Pollock, Gregory B. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 1991. "Viscous population equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 101-109, February.
  6. Götte, Lorenz & Huffman, David B. & Meier, Stephan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," IZA Discussion Papers 2020, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
  8. Michael Kosfeld & Arno Riedl, 2004. "The Design of (De)centralized Punishment Institutions for Sustaining Co-operation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-025/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Matching structure and the cultural transmission of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 608-623, September.
  10. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  11. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2005. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1032-1053, October.
  12. Michael Kosfeld, . "Network Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 152, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  13. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
  14. Friederike Mengel & Veronika Grimm, 2007. "Group Selection With Imperfect Separation - An Experiment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "The behavioral validity of the strategy method in public good experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-25, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Friederike Mengel & Veronika Grimm, 2007. "Group Selection With Imperfect Separation - An Experiment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  3. Peter Werner, 2010. "The Dynamics of Cooperation in Group Lending - A Microfinance Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics 49, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  4. Mengel Friederike, 2009. "Never change a winning team: The effect of substitutions on success in football tournaments," Research Memorandum 027, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  5. Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Matching technology and the choice of punishment institutions in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 333-348, May.
  6. Mengel, Friederike & Fosco, Constanza, 2007. "Cooperation through Imitation and Exclusion in Networks," MPRA Paper 5258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Rivas, Javier, 2013. "Cooperation, imitation and partial rematching," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 148-162.
  8. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Living in Two Neighborhoods – Social Interaction Effects in the Lab," Discussion Papers 2009-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  9. Sergio Currarini & Friederike Menge, 2012. "Identity, Homophily and In-Group Bias," Working Papers 2012.37, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Matching structure and the cultural transmission of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 608-623, September.

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