An examination of the effect of messages on cooperation under double-blind and single-blind payoff procedures
Previous research has suggested that communication and especially promises increase cooperation in laboratory experiments. This has been taken as evidence for internal motivations such as guilt aversion or preference for promise keeping. The goal of this paper was to examine messages under a double-blind payoff procedure to test the alternative explanation that promise keeping is due to external influence and reputational concerns. Employing a 2×2 design, we find no evidence that communication increases the overall level of cooperation in our experiments with double-blind payoff procedures. However, we also find no evidence that communication impacts cooperation in our experiments with single-blind payoff procedures. Further, the payoff procedure does not appear to impact aggregate cooperation. Copyright Economic Science Association 2013
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