Cooperation in Partnerships: The Role of Breakups and Reputation
We investigate experimentally if endogenous partnership formation can improve efficiency in social dilemma situations. Subjects play multiple two-player public goods games, where they can break up with their current partner after every fourth game. Subjects without a partner provide rankings of the available other singles regarding their preferred subject to be matched with. A stable marriage mechanism determines the new matches. We vary the information subjects have when they express their preferences for their future matches and also if staying in a partnership leads to a cost or a bonus. We find that endogenous group formation can increase efficiency. Both the provision of contribution history at the time of re-matching and bonuses for staying in a partnership have positive effects. At least one of the two positive factors has to be present for an efficiency improvement. The presence of both leads to the best results.
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