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Workers' propensity to cooperate with colleagues and the general population: a comparison based on a field experiment

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  • Giacomo Degli Antoni

    ()
    (University of Parma, Department of Law)

Abstract

Experimental evidence shows that people tend to be more cooperative with persons belonging to their own group than with others. Strangely enough, this literature largely fails to consider a type of group pervasive in modern societies: colleagues belonging to the same productive organization. This is particularly curious if one considers the importance of cooperation among colleagues for the economic performance of organizations. This paper carries out an original experimental analysis which compares the level of cooperation of social cooperative workers when they are paired with colleagues and with people from the general population. In contrast with the literature on in-group favoritism, we find that workers trust their colleagues less and cooperate less with them than they do with people from the general public, even though, in absolute terms, the level of cooperation is quite high also among colleagues. By analyzing first- and second-order beliefs, we show that the difference in cooperation is partly mediated by expectations concerning the counterpart's behavior, since workers expect their colleagues to be less cooperative than members of the general public. However, the analysis reveals that also other motivations count, such as other-regarding preferences and warm glow.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometica in its series Econometica Working Papers with number wp50.

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Length: 17
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ent:wpaper:wp50

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Related research

Keywords: social cooperatives; field experiment; social dilemmas; in-group favoritism; trust; beliefs;

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  1. Margit Osterloh & Bruno Frey & Jetta Frost, 2001. "Managing Motivation, Organization and Governance," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 231-239, September.
  2. Fabio Sabatini & Francesca Modena & Ermanno Tortia, 2014. "Do cooperative enterprises create social trust?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 621-641, March.
  3. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  4. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  5. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  6. Frey, Bruno S, 1992. "Tertium Datur: Pricing, Regulating and Intrinsic Motivation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 161-84.
  7. Richard Sosis & Bradley Ruffle, 2006. "Cooperation and the in-group-out-group bias: A field test on israeli kibbutz members and city residents," Artefactual Field Experiments 00104, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Fabio Sabatini, 2006. "Social Capital and Labour Productivity in Italy," Working Papers 2006.30, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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