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Cooperation and authoritarian values: An experimental study in China

Author

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  • Vollan, Björn
  • Landmann, Andreas
  • Zhou, Yexin
  • Hu, Biliang
  • Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten

Abstract

Using samples of both students and workers in China and comparing democratic decision making (i.e. being able to choose one's rules) to non-democratic decision making (i.e. exogenously imposed rule), we show that Chinese participants cooperate the most in a public goods game under the stylized authoritarian environment. This finding may be surprising in light of previous evidence for a “democracy premium” but is in line with authoritarian norms which are prominent in China. We further show that there is a systematic association between participants’ values and their relative contribution decisions in exogenous and endogenous implementation of the rule. Our major finding is that those subjects that place greater value on accepting authority are responsible for greater levels of cooperation under top-down governance. Our findings provide evidence that the effectiveness of a political institution depends on its congruence with individual values and societal norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Vollan, Björn & Landmann, Andreas & Zhou, Yexin & Hu, Biliang & Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2017. "Cooperation and authoritarian values: An experimental study in China," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 90-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:93:y:2017:i:c:p:90-105
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.01.007
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:348-367 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. H. Sun & M. Bigoni, 2015. "A Fine Rule From a Brutish World? An Experiment on Endogenous Punishment Institution and Trust," Working Papers wp1031, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Gallier, Carlo, 2017. "Democracy and compliance in public goods games," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-038, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Legitimacy of legal sanctions; Authoritarian values; Democratic voting; Public goods; China;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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