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Temporal stability and psychological foundations of cooperation preferences

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  • Volk, Stefan
  • Thöni, Christian
  • Ruigrok, Winfried

Abstract

A core element of economic theory is the assumption of stable preferences. We test this assumption in public goods games by repeatedly eliciting cooperation preferences in a fixed subject pool over a period of five months. We find that cooperation preferences are very stable at the aggregate level, and, to a smaller degree, at the individual level, allowing us to predict future behavior fairly accurately. Furthermore, our results provide evidence on the psychological foundations of cooperation preferences. The personality dimension ‘Agreeableness’ is closely related to both the type and the stability of cooperation preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Volk, Stefan & Thöni, Christian & Ruigrok, Winfried, 2012. "Temporal stability and psychological foundations of cooperation preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 664-676.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:81:y:2012:i:2:p:664-676 DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.10.006
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social preferences; Preference stability; Conditional cooperation; Free riding; Personality; Big-Five;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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