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Strategic signaling or emotional sanctioning? An experimental study of ex post communication in a repeated public goods game

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  • Adam Zylbersztejn

    ()
    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

Abstract

Several experimental studies show that ex post communication promotes generosity in situations where individual incentives contradict with common interest, like the provision of public goods. The root underlying the effect of this institution, especially in a repeated interaction, is nonetheless still obscure. This study provides a novel empirical testbed for two mechanisms by which ex post communication may affect behavior in repeated interactions : one is related to strategic signaling, the other involves emotions induces by others' opinions. The main findings are as follows. First, the presence of ex post communication (conducted through the attribution of costless disapproval points) fosters pro-social behavior and reduces free-riding. Second, I find systematic evidence that subjects tend to use ex post communication as a signaling device, whilst no evidence in favor of the emotion-based hypothesis. A possible interpretation of this phenomenon is that ex post messages are used to announce future sanctions for free-riding.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00800587.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00800587

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Keywords: Public goods game; voluntary contribution mechanism; ex post communication;

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  1. Jacquemet Nicolas & Zylbersztejn Adam, 2013. "Learning, Words and Actions: Experimental Evidence on Coordination-Improving Information," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 33, July.
  2. López-Pérez, Raúl & Vorsatz, Marc, 2009. "On Approval and Disapproval: Theory and Experiments," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2009/08, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  3. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," NBER Technical Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
  5. Ronald Peeters & Marc Vorsatz, 2013. "Immaterial Rewards And Sanctions In A Voluntary Contribution Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1442-1456, 04.
  6. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2009. "Avoiding the sharp tongue: Anticipated written messages promote fair economic exchange," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 393-404, June.
  7. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
  8. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
  9. Dugar, Subhasish, 2010. "Nonmonetary sanctions and rewards in an experimental coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 377-386, March.
  10. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Anticipated verbal feedback induces altruistic behavior," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance, Stockholm School of Economics 668, Stockholm School of Economics.
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