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Group formation and cooperation in social dilemmas: A survey and meta-analytic evidence

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  • Guido, Andrea
  • Robbett, Andrea
  • Romaniuc, Rustam

Abstract

We survey the growing literature on group formation in the context of three types of social dilemma games: public goods games, common pool resources, and the prisoner’s dilemma. The 62 surveyed papers study the effect of different sorting mechanisms – endogenous, endogenous with the option to play the game, and exogenous – on cooperation rates. Our survey shows that cooperators are highly sensitive to the presence of free-riders, independently of the sorting mechanism. We complement the survey with a meta-analysis showing no difference in terms of cooperation between studies implementing an endogenous and exogenous sorting. What is more, we find that it is no more likely for a cooperator to be matched with like-minded partners in endogenously formed groups than in exogenously formed groups. These observations are related. As we show in the survey, the success of a sorting method in matching like-minded individuals and the levels of cooperation are closely interlinked.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:192-209
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.009
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