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Social dilemmas: When self-control benefits cooperation

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  • Martinsson, Peter
  • Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.
  • Wollbrant, Conny

Abstract

Individuals in a social dilemma may experience a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and their better judgment to cooperate. Pairing a public goods game with a subtle framing technique, we test whether perception of self-control conflict strengthens the association between self-control and cooperation. Consistent with our hypothesis, cooperative behavior is positively associated with self-control in the treatment that raised the relative likelihood of perceiving conflict, but not associated with self-control in the treatment that lowered the likelihood. These results indicate that it is important to understand the role of self-control in cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2014. "Social dilemmas: When self-control benefits cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 213-236.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:45:y:2014:i:c:p:213-236
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2014.09.004
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    Cited by:

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    2. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny E. Wollbrant, 2017. "Strong, bold, and kind: self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 44-69, March.
    3. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Garagnani, Michele, 2020. "The cognitive foundations of cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 71-85.
    4. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    5. Anna Louisa Merkel & Johannes Lohse, 2019. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for subjective utility differences under time pressure," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(1), pages 24-50, March.
    6. Merkel, Anna & Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for the role of subjective utility differences under time pressure," Working Papers 0627, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    7. Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2015. "Less cognitive conflict does not imply choice of the default option: Commentary on Kieslich and Hilbig (2014)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(3), pages 277-279, May.
    8. Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Smart or selfish – When smart guys finish nice," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 28-40.
    9. Goeschl, Timo & Lohse, Johannes, 2018. "Cooperation in public good games. Calculated or confused?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 185-203.
    10. Pascal J. Kieslich & Benjamin E. Hilbig, 2015. "Judging competing theoretical accounts by their empirical content and parsimony: Reply to Myrseth and Wollbrant (2015)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(3), pages 280-283, May.
    11. Martin G Kocher & Konstantin E Lucks & David Schindler, 2019. "Unleashing Animal Spirits: Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(6), pages 2149-2178.
    12. Johannes Lohse & Timo Goeschl & Johannes H. Diederich, 2017. "Giving is a Question of Time: Response Times and Contributions to an Environmental Public Good," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(3), pages 455-477, July.
    13. Tina Strombach & Zsofia Margittai & Barbara Gorczyca & Tobias Kalenscher, 2016. "Gender-Specific Effects of Cognitive Load on Social Discounting," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(10), pages 1-15, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cooperation; Self-control; Pro-social behavior; Public good experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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