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Do economic inequalities affect long-run cooperation and prosperity?

Author

Listed:
  • Gabriele Camera

    () (Chapman University
    University of Bologna)

  • Cary Deck

    (Chapman University
    University of Alabama)

  • David Porter

    (Chapman University)

Abstract

We explore if fairness and inequality motivations affect cooperation in indefinitely repeated games. Each round, we randomly divided experimental participants into donor–recipient pairs. Donors could make a gift to recipients, and ex-ante earnings are highest when all donors give. Roles were randomly reassigned every period, which induced inequality in ex-post earnings. Theoretically, income-maximizing players do not have to condition on this inequality because it is payoff-irrelevant. Empirically, payoff-irrelevant inequality affected participants’ ability to coordinate on efficient play: donors conditioned gifts on their own past roles and, with inequalities made visible, discriminated against those who were better off.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriele Camera & Cary Deck & David Porter, 2020. "Do economic inequalities affect long-run cooperation and prosperity?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(1), pages 53-83, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:23:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-019-09610-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-019-09610-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bejarano, Hernan & Gillet, Joris & Lara, Ismael Rodríguez, 2021. "When the rich do (not) trust the (newly) rich: Experimental evidence on the effects of positive random shocks in the trust game," OSF Preprints wmejt, Center for Open Science.
    2. Hernan Bejarano & Joris Gillet & Ismael Rodriguez-Lara, 2020. "Trust and Trustworthiness After Negative Random Shocks," Working Papers 20-25, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cooperation; Experiments; Indefinitely repeated games; Social dilemmas;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy

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