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Anticipated discussion and cooperation in a social dilemma


  • Gaute Torsvik

    (University of Bergen, Norway,

  • Anders Molander

    (Oslo University College, Norway)

  • Sigve Tjøtta

    (University of Bergen, Norway)

  • Therese Kobbeltvedt

    (University of Bergen, Norway)


We study how announced post-play, face-to-face discussions affect individual contributions to a public good in an experimental setting. To our surprise ex-post discussions reduced the average contribution to the public good. The negative impact of discussions was turned around when we labelled the choice of not contributing to the public good as ‘free-riding’. The same label had no impact in the no-discussion baseline version of our game. Our explanation of why we observe these patterns is that the announcement of ex-post discussions draws attention to empirical expectations (what will others do?) and to norms of cooperation (what is the morally right choice?).

Suggested Citation

  • Gaute Torsvik & Anders Molander & Sigve Tjøtta & Therese Kobbeltvedt, 2011. "Anticipated discussion and cooperation in a social dilemma," Rationality and Society, , vol. 23(2), pages 199-216, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:199-216

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    Cited by:

    1. Eirik Strømland & Sigve Tjøtta & Gaute Torsvik, 2016. "Cooperating, Fast and Slow: Testing the Social Heuristics Hypothesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 5875, CESifo Group Munich.


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