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How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite and Cooperation in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms

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  • Jordi Brandts
  • Tatsuyoshi Saijo
  • Arthur Schram

Abstract

This paper studies behavior in experiments with a linear voluntary contributions mechanism for public goods conducted in Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and the USA. The same experimental design was used in the four countries. Our 'contribution function' design allows us to obtain a view of subjects' behavior from two complementary points of view. It yields information about situations where, in purely pecuniary terms, it is a dominant strategy to contribute all the endowment and about situations where it is a dominant strategy to contribute nothing. Our results show, first, that differences in behavior across countries are minor. We find that when people play "the same game" they behave similarly. Second, for all four countries our data are inconsistent with the explanation that subjects contribute only out of confusion. A common cooperative motivation is needed to explain the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 56.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:56

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Keywords: experimental economics; cooperation; public goods games;

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  1. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
  2. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
  3. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Kachelmeier, Steven J. & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Culture and competition: A laboratory market comparison between China and the West," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-168, October.
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