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Strategic behavior in repeated voluntary contribution experiments

  • Mengel, Friederike
  • Peeters, Ronald

We conduct a repeated VCM (voluntary contribution mechanism) experiment using the strategy method and compare contribution behavior in a partner and a stranger matching in both a cold and a hot setting, where the latter differs from the former by allowing participants to revise their strategies in each round. Irrespective of whether the setting is hot or cold we find that partners provide higher initial contributions than strangers. In the cold setting (without revision possibility) partners contribute more on average but do not react differently to past contributions by others than strangers. In the hot setting the dynamic contribution plans of strangers are somewhat upward-shifted. Furthermore the contributions of partners decrease more strongly than those of strangers over time in a hot setting. The reason for this effect lies in the fact that partners react much more strongly to negative experiences than strangers. Our design and results contribute to explaining the mixed evidence in the literature on partner versus stranger comparisons and allow us to understand under which conditions commitment can be conducive or harmful to achieving and sustaining higher levels of contribution.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 143-148

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1-2:p:143-148
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Andreoni, James & Croson, Rachel, 2008. "Partners versus Strangers: Random Rematching in Public Goods Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. Croson, Rachel T. A., 1996. "Partners and strangers revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 25-32, October.
  4. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
  5. Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2009. "Cooperation in viscous populations--Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 202-220, May.
  6. John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2006. "Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction," Working Papers 274, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
  7. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-56, March.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
  9. Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1999. "Strategic behavior in public good games: when partners drift apart," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 35-41, January.
  10. Thomas R Palfrey & Jeffrey E Prisbrey, 1997. "Altruism, reputation and noise in linear public goods experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1544, David K. Levine.
  11. Charness, Gary B & Brandts, Jordi, 1998. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4kx7d5pv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  12. repec:dgr:uvatin:2000011 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. repec:dgr:uvatin:20000011 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. 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.
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