Cooperation in Small Groups: The Effect of Group Size
AbstractWe study the effect of group size on cooperation in voluntary contribution mechanism games. As in previous experiments, we study four- and eight-person groups in high and low marginal per capita return (MPCR) conditions. We find a positive effect of group size in the low MPCR condition, as in previous experiments. However, in the high MPCR condition we observe a negative group size effect. We extend the design to investigate two- and three-person groups in the high MPCR condition, and find that cooperation is highest of all in two-person groups. The findings in the high MPCR condition are consistent with those from n-person prisonerâ€™s dilemma and oligopoly experiments that suggest it is more difficult to sustain cooperation in larger groups. The findings from the low MPCR condition suggest that this effect can be overridden. In particular, when cooperation is low other factors, such as considerations of the social benefits of contributing (which increase with group size), may dominate any negative group size effect.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2013-05.
Date of creation: May 2013
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voluntary contribution mechanism; cooperation; group size;
Other versions of this item:
- Daniele Nosenzo & Simone Quercia & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Cooperation in Small Groups: The Effect of Group Size," Discussion Papers 2012-17, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- NEP-ALL-2013-10-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2013-10-18 (Business Economics)
- NEP-CBE-2013-10-18 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-CDM-2013-10-18 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EVO-2013-10-18 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2013-10-18 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2013-10-18 (Game Theory)
- NEP-SOC-2013-10-18 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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