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The Demographics of cooperation: Evidence from a field experiment in the Gori-Ganga Basin

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Author Info

  • Sujoy Chakravarty

    ()
    (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

  • Carine Sebi

    ()
    (Agence d'Urbanisme de la R‚gion Grenobloise, Grenoble)

  • E. Somanathan

    ()
    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Emmanuel Theophilus

Abstract

The public goods problem (Hardin, 1968) either viewed as a problem of extraction or that of contribution has had a long history in the Social Sciences. Our experimental design uses a standard Voluntary Contributions Mechanism (VCM) game with a moderately large group of ten and face-to-face communication. The subjects, who are villagers in the Gori-Ganga Basin of the Central Himalayas, are not re-matched every period. Our results are somewhat different from laboratory experiments using a similar design such as Isaac and Walker (1988a, 1988b). A noteworthy general observation is that even with a relatively low Marginal Per Capita Return (MPCR = 0.2) and a large group we find a steady contribution rate around 55 percent which diminishes slightly at the end of the session to around 50 percent. We also delve into the demographic characteristics of our subject pool and find that individual contribution to the common pool is determined by gender, age, caste, literacy and history of cooperation in the experiment. However, face-to-face communication is not seen to increase average individual contribution to the common pool.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India in its series Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers with number 10-07.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:10-07

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Keywords: voluntary contributions mechanism; field experiments; gender; caste; minority;

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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
  2. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
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  7. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Differences in the Economic Decisions of Men and Women: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  9. Steffen Andersen & Erwin Bulte & Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2008. "Do Women Supply More Public Goods Than Men? Preliminary Experimental Evidence from Matrilineal and Patriarchal Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 376-81, May.
  10. Rachel Croson & Enrique Fatás & Tibor Neugebauer, 2004. "Reciprocity, Matching and Conditional Cooperation in Two Public Goods Games," IESA Working Papers Series 0409, Institute for Social Syudies of Andalusia - Higher Council for Scientific Research.
  11. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
  12. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  13. Binswanger, Hans P, 1981. "Attitudes toward Risk: Theoretical Implications of an Experiment in Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 867-90, December.
  14. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
  15. Fiona Greig & Iris Bohnet, 2008. "Is There Reciprocity In A Reciprocal-Exchange Economy? Evidence Of Gendered Norms From A Slum In Nairobi, Kenya," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(1), pages 77-83, 01.
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