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Cooperation In Viscous Populations - Experimental Evidence

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  • Friederike Mengel

    ()
    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Veronika Grimm

    ()
    (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the effect of population viscosity (an increased probability to interact with others of one's type or group) on cooperation in a standard prisoner's dilemma environment. Subjects can repeatedly choose between two groups that differ in the defector gain in the associated prisoner's dilemma. Choosing into the group with the smaller defector-gain can signal one's willingness to cooperate. The degree of viscosity is varied across treatments. We find that viscosity produces an endogenous sorting of cooperators and defectors and persistently high rates ofcooperation. Higher viscosity leads to a sharp increase in overall cooperation rates and in addition positively affects the subjects' intrinsic willingness to cooperate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2007-17.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2007-17

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Keywords: Experiments; Cooperation; Group Selection; Norms; Population;

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References

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  1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  2. Michael Kosfeld, . "Network Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 152, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2002. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Working Papers 2002-19, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
  5. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The impact of group membership on cooperation and norm enforcement: evidence using random assignment to real social groups," Working Papers 06-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Bohnet, Iris & Kübler, Dorothea, 2000. "Compensating the cooperators: Is sorting in the prisoner's dilemma possible?," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,2, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  7. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
  8. Giorgio Coricelli & Dietmar Fehr & Gerlinde Fellner, 2003. "Partner selection in public goods experiments," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-13, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  9. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Myerson, Roger B. & Pollock, Gregory B. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 1991. "Viscous population equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 101-109, February.
  11. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Matching structure and the cultural transmission of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 608-623, September.
  12. Umut Ones & Louis Putterman, 2004. "The Ecology of Collective Action: A Public Goods and Sanctions Experiment with Controlled Group Formation," Working Papers 2004-01, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  13. Friederike Mengel & Veronika Grimm, 2007. "Group Selection With Imperfect Separation - An Experiment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  14. Michael Kosfeld & Arno Riedl, 2004. "The Design of (De)centralized Punishment Institutions for Sustaining Co-operation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-025/1, Tinbergen Institute.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Matching structure and the cultural transmission of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 608-623, September.
  2. Sergio Currarini & Friederike Menge, 2012. "Identity, Homophily and In-Group Bias," Working Papers 2012.37, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Living in Two Neighborhoods – Social Interaction Effects in the Lab," Discussion Papers 2009-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Peter Werner, 2010. "The Dynamics of Cooperation in Group Lending - A Microfinance Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics 49, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  5. Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Matching technology and the choice of punishment institutions in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 333-348, May.
  6. Mengel, Friederike & Peeters, Ronald, 2011. "Strategic behavior in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 143-148.
  7. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "The behavioral validity of the strategy method in public good experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-25, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  8. Mengel, Friederike & Fosco, Constanza, 2007. "Cooperation through Imitation and Exclusion in Networks," MPRA Paper 5258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Friederike Mengel & Veronika Grimm, 2007. "Group Selection With Imperfect Separation - An Experiment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2007-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Rivas, Javier, 2013. "Cooperation, imitation and partial rematching," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 148-162.

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