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Confusion and learning in the voluntary contributions game

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  • Ralph-C. Bayer

    ()

  • Elke Renner

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  • Rupert Sausgruber

    ()

Abstract

We use a limited information environment to assess the role of confusion in the repeated voluntary contributions game. A comparison with play in a standard version of the game suggests, that the common claim that decision errors due to confused subjects biases estimates of cooperation upwards, is not necessarily correct. Furthermore, we find that simple learning cannot generate the kind of contribution dynamics commonly attributed to the existence of conditional cooperators. We conclude that cooperative behavior and its decay observed in public goods games is not a pure artefact of confusion and learning. Copyright Economic Science Association 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph-C. Bayer & Elke Renner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Confusion and learning in the voluntary contributions game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 478-496, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:16:y:2013:i:4:p:478-496 DOI: 10.1007/s10683-012-9348-2
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:spr:inrvec:v:64:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12232-017-0270-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alexandre Cornière & Greg Taylor, 2014. "Integration and search engine bias," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, pages 576-597.
    4. Nax, Heinrich H., 2015. "Equity dynamics in bargaining without information exchange," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65426, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Dominik Doll & Eberhard Feess & Alwine Mohnen, 2017. "Ability, Team Composition, and Moral Hazard: Evidence from the Laboratory," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, pages 49-70.
    6. repec:gam:jgames:v:8:y:2017:i:4:p:50-:d:119204 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Nax, Heinrich H. & Burton-Chellew, Maxwell N. & West, Stuart A. & Young, H. Peyton, 2016. "Learning in a black box," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 1-15.
    8. Anna Conte & M. Vittoria Levati & Natalia Montinari, 2014. "Experience in Public Goods Experiments," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    9. Nax, Heinrich H. & Murphy, Ryan O. & Helbing, Dirk, 2014. "Stability and welfare of 'merit-based' group-matching mechanisms in voluntary contribution game," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65444, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Simon Gaechter & Elke Renner, 2014. "Leaders as Role Models for the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 5049, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Bernd Irlenbusch & Rainer Michael Rilke, 2013. "(Public) Good Examples - On the Role of Limited Feedback in Voluntary Contribution Games," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 04-04, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    12. Wu, Hang & Bayer, Ralph-C, 2015. "Learning from inferred foregone payoffs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 445-458.
    13. Nielsen, Ulrik H. & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Wengström, Erik, 2014. "Second thoughts on free riding," Economics Letters, Elsevier, pages 136-139.
    14. Jordi Brandts & Christina Rott & Carles Solà, 2016. "Not just like starting over - Leadership and revivification of cooperation in groups," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 792-818, December.
    15. Nax, Heinrich H. & Burton-Chellew, Maxwell N. & West, Stuart A. & Young, H. Peyton, 2016. "Learning in a black box," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68714, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Goeschl, Timo & Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Cooperation in Public Good Games. Calculated or Confused?," Working Papers 0626, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    17. Heinrich Nax, 2015. "Equity dynamics in bargaining without information exchange," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, pages 1011-1026.
    18. Heinrich H. Nax & Maxwell N. Burton-Chellew & Stuart A. West & H. Peyton Young, 2013. "Learning in a Black Box," PSE Working Papers hal-00817201, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voluntary contribution mechanism; Public goods experiments; Learning; Limited information; Confusion; Conditional cooperation; C90; D83; H41;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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