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Not just babble: Opening the black box of communication in a voluntary contribution experiment

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  • Bochet, Olivier
  • Putterman, Louis

Abstract

We let subjects in a voluntary contribution experiment make non-binding numerical announcements about their "possible" contributions and, in some treatments, send written promises to contribute specific amounts. We find that announcements were responded to both by others' announcements and by real play, for example announcements led to costly punishment when found to be misleading. We also find that adding pre-play announcements to treatments with punishment can increase efficiency by letting cost-free warnings substitute for costly punishment. The threat of punishing false announcements and promises helps reduce false signals, but only when promise statements can be sent is the effect sufficient for achieving greater efficiency.

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  • Bochet, Olivier & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Not just babble: Opening the black box of communication in a voluntary contribution experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 309-326, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:53:y:2009:i:3:p:309-326
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    Cited by:

    1. Cary Deck & Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker, 2013. "An examination of the effect of messages on cooperation under double-blind and single-blind payoff procedures," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 597-607, December.
    2. Dickinson, David L. & Masclet, David, 2015. "Emotion venting and punishment in public good experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 55-67.
    3. J. Daniel Aromí, 2013. "Pre-play Research in a Model of Bank Runs," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. 59, pages 57-86, January-D.
    4. Koukoumelis, Anastasios & Levati, M. Vittoria & Weisser, Johannes, 2012. "Leading by words: A voluntary contribution experiment with one-way communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 379-390.
    5. Adriana Bernal Escobar & Rafael Cuervo & Gonzalo Pinzón Trujillo & Jorge H. Maldonado., 2013. "Derretimiento y Retroceso Glaciar: Entendiendo la Percepción de los Hogares Agrícolas que se Enfrentan a los Desafíos del Cambio Climático," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010679, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    6. Gächter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt, 2011. "The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 193-210, February.
    7. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2006. "The limits of self-governance in the presence of spite: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers 2006-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    8. Lundquist, Tobias & Ellingsen, Tore & Gribbe, Erik & Johannesson, Magnus, 2009. "The aversion to lying," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 81-92, May.
    9. Dirk Engelmann & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2015. "In the long-run we are all dead: on the benefits of peer punishment in rich environments," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(3), pages 561-577, October.
    10. Martinsson, Peter & Persson, Emil, 2016. "Public Goods and Minimum Provision Levels: Does the institutional formation affect cooperation?," Working Papers in Economics 655, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    11. Sujoy Chakravarty & Carine Sebi & E. Somanathan & Emmanuel Theophilus, 2013. "The Demographics of Cooperation: Evidence from a Field Experiment in the Gori-Ganga Basin," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 9(2), pages 231-269, July.
    12. Matthias Greiff & Fabian Paetzel, 2012. "The Importance of Knowing Your Own Reputation," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201236, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    13. Cason, Timothy N. & Mui, Vai-Lam, 2015. "Rich communication, social motivations, and coordinated resistance against divide-and-conquer: A laboratory investigation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 146-159.
    14. Fehr, Dietmar & Sutter, Matthias, 2016. "Gossip and the Efficiency of Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 9704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Andersson, Ola & Wengström, Erik, 2012. "Credible communication and cooperation: Experimental evidence from multi-stage Games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 207-219.
    16. Nicolas Jacquemet & Stephane Luchini & Jason Shogren & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2011. "Coordination with Communication under Oath," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00635801, HAL.
    17. Luigi Butera & John A. List, 2017. "An Economic Approach to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science: With an Application to the Public Goods Game," NBER Working Papers 23335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Sujoy Chakravarty & Carine Sebi & E. Somanathan & E. Theophilus, 2011. "Voluntary Contribution in the Field: An Experiment in the Indian Himalayas," Working Papers id:3490, eSocialSciences.
    19. David L. Dickinson & Daivd Masclet, 2014. "Emotions and Punishment in Public Good Experiments," Working Papers 14-03, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    20. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    21. Schütte, Miriam & Thoma, Carmen, 2014. "Promises and Image Concerns," Discussion Papers in Economics 20861, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    22. Gary Bolton & Peter Werner, 2016. "The influence of potential on wages and effort," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 535-561, September.
    23. Dannenberg,Astrid & Martinsson,Peter, 2015. "The effect of nonbinding agreements on cooperation among forest user groups in Nepal and Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7325, The World Bank.

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