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Cooperation in Partnerships: The Role of Breakups and Reputation


  • Ralph-C Bayer

    () (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph-C Bayer, 2011. "Cooperation in Partnerships: The Role of Breakups and Reputation," School of Economics Working Papers 2011-22, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:2011-22

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kenju Kamei & Louis Putterman, 2013. "Play it Again: Partner Choice, Reputation Building and Learning in Restarting, Finitely-Repeated Dilemma Games," Working Papers 2013-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Lachlan Deer & Ralph-C. Bayer, 2016. "Pledges of Commitment and Cooperation in Partnerships," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-16, January.
    3. Kamei, Kenju, 2016. "Information Disclosure and Cooperation in a Finitely-repeated Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 75100, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Social Dilemma; Endogenous Group Formation; Public Goods;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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