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The coordination value of monetary exchange: Experimental evidence

  • G. Camera
  • M. Casari

Under what conditions can cooperation be sustained in a network of strangers? Here we study the role of institutions and uncover a new behavioral foundation for the use of monetary systems. In an experiment, anonymous subjects could cooperate or defect in bilateral random encounters. This sequence of encounters was indefinite; hence multiple equilibria were possible, including full intertemporal cooperation supported by a social norm based on community punishment of defectors. We report that such social norm did not emerge. Instead, the availability of intrinsically worthless tokens favored the coordination on intertemporal cooperation in ways that networks of strangers were unable to achieve through social norms.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp754.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp754
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  1. John Duffy, 2008. "Macroeconomics: A Survey of Laboratory Research," Working Papers 334, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
  2. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
  3. Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari & Maria Bigoni, 2010. "Cooperative Strategies in Groups of Strangers: An Experiment," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1237, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
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  8. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Kandori, Michihiro, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
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  12. Andreoni, James & Vesterlund, Lise, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," Staff General Research Papers 1951, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  15. John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2002. "Intrinsically Worthless Objects as Media of Exchange: Experimental Evidence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 637-674, August.
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