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Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People

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Listed:
  • Simon Gächter

    (University of Nottingham,)

  • Christian Thöni

    (University of St. Gallen,)

Abstract

Many people contribute to public goods but stop doing so once they experience free riding. We test the hypothesis that groups whose members know that they are composed only of "like minded" cooperators are able to maintain a higher cooperation level than the most cooperative, randomly composed groups. Our experiments confirm this hypothesis. We also predict that groups of "like-minded" free riders do not cooperate. Yet, we find a high level of strategic cooperation that eventually collapses. Our results underscore the importance of group composition and social learning by heterogeneously motivated agents to understand the dynamics of cooperation and free riding. (JEL: C91, H41, D23, C72) Copyright (c) 2005 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:3:y:2005:i:2-3:p:303-314
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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