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Does Social Exchange Increase Voluntary Cooperation?


  • Gachter, Simon
  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Kment, Christiane


There is a lot of empirical and experimental evidence that people give considerable amounts to charities and contribute to public goods. In many cases, fellow citizens get to know the contributions of the donators. This suggests that cooperative behavior is--at least partly--driven by desire to gain social approval. In this paper, an experimental design is developed that allows to test the hypothesis that social exchanges between voluntary cooperation and social approval enhance cooperative behavior in the presence of free-riding incentives. The authors' results indicate that, among strangers, the opportunity for social exchanges does not increase cooperation rates. Copyright 1996 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG

Suggested Citation

  • Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst & Kment, Christiane, 1996. "Does Social Exchange Increase Voluntary Cooperation?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 541-554.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:49:y:1996:i:4:p:541-54

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Kalaitzidakis, Pantelis & Mamuneas, Theofanis P. & Stengos, Thanasis, 1999. "European economics: An analysis based on publications in the core journals," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1150-1168, April.
    5. Kalaitzidakis, P. & Mamuneas, T.P. & Stengos, T., 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions," Working Papers 2003-8, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    6. Clive Beed & Cara Beed, 1996. "Measuring the Quality of Academic Journals: The Case of Economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 369-396, March.
    7. Carl Shapiro, 1982. "Consumer Information, Product Quality, and Seller Reputation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 20-35, Spring.
    8. Bommer, Rolf & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 1997. "Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand ...: Eine publikationsanalytische Erfassung der Forschungsleistungen volkswirtschaftlicher Fachbereiche in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz," Discussion Papers, Series II 352, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
    9. Laband, David N & Piette, Michael J, 1994. "The Relative Impacts of Economics Journals: 1970-1990," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 640-666, June.
    10. Liebowitz, S J & Palmer, J P, 1984. "Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economic Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 77-88, March.
    11. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fellner, Gerlinde & Lünser, Gabriele K., 2008. "Cooperation in local and global groups," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 256, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    2. repec:kap:jbuset:v:145:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2870-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fellner, Gerlinde & Lünser, Gabriele K., 2014. "Cooperation in local and global groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 364-373.
    4. Enrique Fatas & Miguel Meléndez-Jiménez & Hector Solaz, 2010. "An experimental analysis of team production in networks," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(4), pages 399-411, December.
    5. Simon Gächter & Ernst Fehr, 1997. "Social Norms as a Social Exchange," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 133(II), pages 275-292, June.
    6. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
    7. Luigi Mittone & Francesca Bortolami, 2007. "Free riding and norms of control: self determination and imposition. An experimental comparison," CEEL Working Papers 0704, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    8. Houser, Daniel & Levy, David M. & Padgitt, Kail & Peart, Sandra J. & Xiao, Erte, 2014. "Raising the price of talk: An experimental analysis of transparent leadership," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 208-218.
    9. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
    10. Muhammad Khaleel & Shankar Chelliah & Jamshed Khalid & Muhammad Jamil & Faryal Manzoor, 2016. "Employee Engagement as an Outcome of Friendship at Workplace: Moderating Role of Job Embeddedness," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 6(6), pages 1-6, June.

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