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Effort, inequality and cooperation: evidence from the lab

Author

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  • Kjetil Bjorvatn

    () (NHH, Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Nicola Daniele Coniglio

    () (Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro")

Abstract

We investigate the impact of inequality on cooperation using a linear public good game and focusing on heterogeneity in the source of income, where some participants work for their endowment (“workers”) while others do not (“non-workers”). The key finding of our paper is that cooperation is higher when workers are grouped with other workers, and we provide evidence that the underlying mechanism for this result is a higher degree of altruism between workers. Our results thus lend support to the concerns that inequality may have detrimental effects on economic efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Kjetil Bjorvatn & Nicola Daniele Coniglio, 2018. "Effort, inequality and cooperation: evidence from the lab," SERIES 02-2018, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Apr 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:bai:series:series_wp_02-2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
    2. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Milyo, Jeffrey, 2008. "Inequality and public good provision: An experimental analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1010-1028, June.
    3. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
    4. Cherry, Todd L. & Kroll, Stephan & Shogren, Jason F., 2005. "The impact of endowment heterogeneity and origin on public good contributions: evidence from the lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 357-365, July.
    5. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
    6. Buckley, Edward & Croson, Rachel, 2006. "Income and wealth heterogeneity in the voluntary provision of linear public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 935-955, May.
    7. Robert J. Oxoby & John Spraggon, 2013. "A Clear And Present Minority: Heterogeneity In The Source Of Endowments And The Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 2071-2082, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public goods; inequality; source of income heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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