IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Obligations and cooperative behaviour in public good games

  • Galbiati, Roberto
  • Vertova, Pietro

Laws express rules of conduct ('obligations') enforced by the means of penalties and rewards ('incentives'). The role of incentives in shaping individual behaviour has been largely analysed in the traditional economic literature. On the contrary, very little is known about the specific role of obligations. In this paper we test whether or not obligations have any independent effect on cooperation in a public good game. The results show that, for given marginal incentives, different levels of minimum contribution required by obligation determine significantly different levels of average contributions. Moreover, obligations per se cannot sustain cooperation over time, even if they affect the rate of decline of average contributions. Finally, unexpected changes in the minimum contribution have asymmetric dynamic effects on the levels of cooperation: a reduction does not alter the descending trend of cooperation, whereas an increase induces a temporary re-start in average contributions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 64 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 146-170

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:64:y:2008:i:1:p:146-170
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2005. "The Behavioural Effects of Minimum Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 5115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity - Evidence and Economic Applications," IEW - Working Papers 075, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2000. "Local Environmental Control and Institutional Crowding-Out," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1719-1733, October.
  8. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 585-608, June.
  9. Jean-Robert Tyran & Lars P. Feld, 2005. "Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-Deterrent," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-17, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  10. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt3w34j60j, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:64:y:2008:i:1:p:146-170. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.