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When the two ends meet: an experiment on cooperation and social capital

Author

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  • Pietro Battiston

    (Università degli Studi di Parma
    Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

  • Simona Gamba

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Abstract

We study the behaviour of individuals with different geographic origins interacting in a same public good game. We exploit the peculiar composition of the experimental sample to compare the performance of groups where individuals have mixed origins to homogeneous groups. We find that, despite the absence of any geographic framing, mixed groups exhibit significantly lower contributions. We also find that cooperation levels differ significantly across geographic origins, in line with the existing literature. This is explained by a different impact of coordination opportunities, such as communication, as we show by manipulating them. Our results point towards integration as a crucial aspect for the economic development of intercultural societies. They also confirm that, rather than being explained just by the differences in institutions and economic opportunities, the Italian North–South divide embeds elements of distrust, prejudice and a consequent path dependence in the level of social capital

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  • Pietro Battiston & Simona Gamba, 2020. "When the two ends meet: an experiment on cooperation and social capital," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 37(3), pages 911-940, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:epolit:v:37:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s40888-020-00184-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s40888-020-00184-7
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public good; Cooperation; Social capital; Cultural differences; Lab experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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