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Can we manage first impressions in cooperation problems? An experimental study on “Broken (and Fixed) Windows”

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  • Christoph Engel

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Sebastian Kube

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Michael Kurschilgen

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

Abstract

Cooperation problems are at the heart of many everyday situations. In this paper, we propose a very simple and light-handed mechanism to sustain cooperation and test its performance in a rich laboratory environment. The mechanism moderates cooperation by controlling experiences, more specifically, it "manipulates" subjects’ initial beliefs by providing them with selective information about (un)cooperative behavior in other, unrelated, groups. We observe that contributions are considerably sensitive to such selective information. First impressions participants happen to make predict subsequent behavior. Our results, however, suggest an asymmetry in the strength of the reaction – which might pose a limit on the effectiveness of the mechanism in natural settings.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2011_05.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2011_05

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Cited by:
  1. Robert Dur & Ben Vollaard, 2014. "The Power of a Bad Example - A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal," CESifo Working Paper Series 4753, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Dur, R. & Vollaard, B.A., 2012. "The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by CentER DP 2013-018)," Discussion Paper 2012-054, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Dur, R. & Vollaard, B.A., 2013. "The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (Revision of CentER DP 2013-018)," Discussion Paper 2013-037, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Christoph Engel & Marco Kleine, 2013. "Who is Afraid of Pirates? An Experiment on the Deterrence of Innovation by Imitation," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Nov 2013.
  5. Kenju Kamei & Louis Putterman, 2012. "In Broad Daylight: Full Information and Higher-order Punishment Opportunities Promote Cooperation," Working Papers 2012-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Dur, R. & Vollaard, B.A., 2012. "The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by TILEC DP 2013-006)," Discussion Paper 2012-024, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  7. Dur, R. & Vollaard, B.A., 2013. "The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (Revision of TILEC DP 2013-006)," Discussion Paper 2013-018, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.

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