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Law and Behaviours in Social Dilemmas: Testing the Effect of Obligations on Cooperation

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Author Info

  • Galbiati, R.
  • Vertova, P.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

Laws consist of two components: the 'obligations' they express and the 'incentives' designed to enforce them.In this paper we run a public good experiment to test whether or not obligations have any independent effect on cooperation in social dilemmas.The results show that, for given marginal incentives, different levels of minimum contribution required by obligation determine significantly different levels of average contributions.Moreover, unexpected changes in the minimum contribution set up by obligation have asymmetric dynamic effects on the levels of cooperation: a reduction does not alter the descending trend of cooperation, whereas an increase induces a temporary re-start in the average level of cooperation.Nonetheless, obligations per se cannot sustain cooperation over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2005-56.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:200556

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: Incentives; Obligations; Public Good Game; Social Dilemma;

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References

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  1. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  4. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2000. "Local Environmental Control and Institutional Crowding-Out," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1719-1733, October.
  5. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 585-608, June.
  6. Colin F. Camerer & Ernst Fehr, . "Measuring Social Norms and Preferences using Experimental Games: A Guide for Social Scientists," IEW - Working Papers 097, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  9. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt3w34j60j, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  10. Richard H. McAdams & Eric B. Rasmusen, 2004. "Norms in Law and Economics," Working Papers 2004-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Engel & Michael Kurschilgen, 2011. "The Coevolution of Behavior and Normative Expectations. Customary Law in the Lab," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_32, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  2. Ibanez, Marcela & Martinsson, Peter, 2008. "Can we do policy recommendations from a framed field experiment? The case of coca cultivation in Colombia," Working Papers in Economics 306, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Bruno Deffains & Claude Fluet, 2007. "Legal versus Normative Incentives under Judicial Error," Cahiers de recherche 0718, CIRPEE.
  4. Theodore Eisenberg & Christoph Engel, 2012. "Assuring Adequate Deterrence in Tort: A Public Good Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  5. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch & Christina Strassmair, 2012. "An Experimental Test of the Deterrence Hypothesis," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 447-459, August.
  6. Christoph Engel & Sebastian Kube & Michael Kurschilgen, 2011. "Can we manage first impressions in cooperation problems? An experimental study on “Broken (and Fixed) Windows”," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_05, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  7. Francesca Bortolami & Luigi Mittone, 2009. "Does Participating in a Collective Decision Affect the Levels of Contributions Provided? An Experimental Investigation," CEEL Working Papers 0902, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  8. Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2006. "The Hidden Effect of Rules: Behavioural consequences of Obligations," Discussion Papers 18_2006, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.

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