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How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite and Cooperation in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms

Author

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  • Jordi Brandts
  • Tatsuyoshi Saijo
  • Arthur Schram

Abstract

This paper studies behavior in experiments with a linear voluntary contributions mechanism for public goods conducted in Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and the USA. The same experimental design was used in the four countries. Our 'contribution function' design allows us to obtain a view of subjects' behavior from two complementary points of view. It yields information about situations where, in purely pecuniary terms, it is a dominant strategy to contribute all the endowment and about situations where it is a dominant strategy to contribute nothing. Our results show, first, that differences in behavior across countries are minor. We find that when people play "the same game" they behave similarly. Second, for all four countries our data are inconsistent with the explanation that subjects contribute only out of confusion. A common cooperative motivation is needed to explain the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordi Brandts & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Arthur Schram, 2003. "How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite and Cooperation in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," Working Papers 56, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:56
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    3. Saijo, T. & Yamato, T. & Yokotani, K. & Cason, T.N., 2000. "Voluntary Participation Game Experiments with a Non-Excludable Public Good: Is Spitefulness a Source of Cooperation?," ISER Discussion Paper 0494, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    4. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
    5. Kachelmeier, Steven J. & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Culture and competition: A laboratory market comparison between China and the West," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-168, October.
    6. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; cooperation; public goods games;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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