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Cooperation in viscous populations--Experimental evidence

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  • Grimm, Veronika
  • Mengel, Friederike

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the effect of population viscosity (an increased probability to interact with others of one's type or group) on cooperation in a standard prisoner's dilemma environment. Subjects can repeatedly choose between two groups that differ in the defector gain in the associated prisoner's dilemma. Choosing into the group with the smaller defector-gain can signal one's willingness to cooperate. We find that viscosity produces an endogenous sorting of cooperators and defectors and persistently high rates of cooperation. Higher viscosity leads to a sharp increase in overall cooperation rates and in addition positively affects the subjects' preferences for cooperation.

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  • Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2009. "Cooperation in viscous populations--Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 202-220, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:66:y:2009:i:1:p:202-220
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    8. Sergio Currarini & Friederike Menge, 2012. "Identity, Homophily and In-Group Bias," Working Papers 2012.37, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    9. Chmura, Thorsten & Goerg, Sebastian J. & Weiss, Pia, 2016. "Natural groups and economic characteristics as driving forces of wage discrimination," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 178-200.
    10. Kenju Kamei, 2019. "Cooperation and endogenous repetition in an infinitely repeated social dilemma," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 48(3), pages 797-834, September.
    11. Guido, Andrea & Robbett, Andrea & Romaniuc, Rustam, 2019. "Group formation and cooperation in social dilemmas: A survey and meta-analytic evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 192-209.
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    13. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Matching structure and the cultural transmission of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 608-623, September.
    14. Mengel, Friederike & Peeters, Ronald, 2011. "Strategic behavior in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 143-148, February.
    15. Rivas, Javier, 2013. "Cooperation, imitation and partial rematching," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 148-162.
    16. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Living in Two Neighborhoods – Social Interaction Effects in the Lab," Discussion Papers 2009-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiments Cooperation Group selection Norms Population viscosity;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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