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Confusion and Learning in the Public Goods Game

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  • Ralph-C Bayer

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)

  • Elke Renner

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Rupert Sausgruber

    (University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We test if confusion and learning could potentially explain all the decay of contributions in the repeated public goods games by implementing a limited information environment to mimic the state of confusion. A comparison shows that the rate of decline is more than twice as high in a standard public goods game. Furthermore, we find that simple learning cannot generate the contribution dynamics, which are commonly attributed to the existence of conditional cooperators. We conclude that cooperative behavior observed in public goods games is not a pure artefact of confusion and learning.

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File URL: http://www.economics.adelaide.edu.au/research/papers/doc/wp2010-24.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Adelaide, School of Economics in its series School of Economics Working Papers with number 2010-24.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2010-24

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Keywords: public goods experiments; learning; limited information; confusion; conditional cooperation;

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  1. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  2. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
  3. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
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