Cooperation In Large Networks: An Experimental
AbstractWe present a new design of a simple public goods experiment with a large number of players, where up to 80 people in a computer lab have the possibility to connect with others in the room to induce more cooperators to contribute to the public good and overcome the social dilemma. This experimental design explores the possibility of social networks to be used and institutional devices to create the same behavioral responses we observe with small groups (e.g. commitments, social norms, reciprocity, trust, shame, guilt) that seem to induce cooperative behavior in the private provision of public goods. The results of our experiment suggest that the structure of the network affects not only the players’ ability to communicate, but their willingness to do so as well. Finally, we find that the local connectivity structure of the network has an important role as determinant of the willingness of the players to engage in a more costly type of collective action, namely the endogenous creation of new links to individuals previously out of reach.
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