IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cdx/dpaper/2010-09.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Culture and Cooperation

Author

Listed:
  • Simon Gaechter

    () (Centre of Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Benedikt Herrmann

    (Centre of Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Christian Thoeni

    (University of St. Gallen)

Abstract

Does the cultural background influence the success with which genetically unrelated individuals cooperate in social dilemma situations? In this paper we provide an answer by analyzing the data of Herrmann et al. (Science 2008, pp. 1362-1367), who study cooperation and punishment in sixteen subject pools from six different world cultures (as classified by Inglehart & Baker (American Sociological Review 2000, pp. 19-51)). We use analysis of variance to disentangle the importance of cultural background relative to individual heterogeneity and group-level differences in cooperation. We find that culture has a substantial influence on the extent of cooperation, in addition to individual heterogeneity and group-level differences identified by previous research. The significance of this result is that cultural background has a substantial influence on cooperation in otherwise identical environments. This is particularly true in the presence of punishment opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thoeni, 2010. "Culture and Cooperation," Discussion Papers 2010-09, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2010-09
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/2010-09.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gachter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt & Thoni, Christian, 2004. "Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socio-economic background: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 505-531, December.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & J�rgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, "undated". "A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining trust and trustworthiness by integrating behavioral experiments into representative surveys," IEW - Working Papers 141, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Smith, Vernon L., 2010. "Theory and experiment: What are the questions?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 3-15, January.
    4. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
    5. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    6. Neugebauer, Tibor & Perote, Javier & Schmidt, Ulrich & Loos, Malte, 2009. "Selfish-biased conditional cooperation: On the decline of contributions in repeated public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 52-60, February.
    7. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    8. Chuah, Swee-Hoon & Hoffmann, Robert & Jones, Martin & Williams, Geoffrey, 2007. "Do cultures clash? Evidence from cross-national ultimatum game experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-48, September.
    9. Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    10. Thöni, Christian & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Wengström, Erik, 2012. "Microfoundations of social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 635-643.
    11. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "Alfred Marshall Lecture Social Capital as Good Culture," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 295-320, 04-05.
    12. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    13. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    14. Nicholas Bardsley & Robin Cubitt & Graham Loomes & Peter Moffatt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2009. "Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9074.
    15. Chuah, Swee-Hoon & Hoffmann, Robert & Jones, Martin & Williams, Geoffrey, 2009. "An economic anatomy of culture: Attitudes and behaviour in inter- and intra-national ultimatum game experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 732-744, October.
    16. Iris Bohnet & Benedikt Herrmann & Richard Zeckhauser, 2010. "Trust and the Reference Points for Trustworthiness in Gulf and Western Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 811-828.
    17. Hong, Kessely & Bohnet, Iris, 2007. "Status and distrust: The relevance of inequality and betrayal aversion," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 197-213, April.
    18. Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thöni, 2009. "Measuring conditional cooperation: a replication study in Russia," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 87-92, March.
    19. Kocher, Martin & Martinsson, Peter & Visser, Martine, 2012. "Social background, cooperative behavior, and norm enforcement," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 341-354.
    20. Rachel T. A. Croson, 2007. "Theories Of Commitment, Altruism And Reciprocity: Evidence From Linear Public Goods Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 199-216, April.
    21. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    22. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Social norms and human cooperation," Macroeconomics 0409026, EconWPA.
    23. Croson, Rachel & Gächter, Simon, 2010. "The science of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 122-131, January.
    24. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821.
    25. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    26. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2007. "Social Capital as Good Culture," NBER Working Papers 13712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
    28. Gunnthorsdottir, Anna & Houser, Daniel & McCabe, Kevin, 2007. "Disposition, history and contributions in public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 304-315, February.
    29. John Ermisch & Diego Gambetta & Heather Laurie & Thomas Siedler & S. C. Noah Uhrig, 2009. "Measuring people's trust," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(4), pages 749-769.
    30. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
    31. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-554, May.
    32. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
    33. Henrich, Joseph, 2004. "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-35, January.
    34. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:02:p:404-417_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. Håkan J. Holm & Anders Danielson, 2005. "Tropic Trust Versus Nordic Trust: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania And Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 505-532, April.
    36. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618.
    37. Muller, Laurent & Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard & Vesterlund, Lise, 2008. "Strategic behavior and learning in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 782-793, September.
    38. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
    39. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 171-188, June.
    40. 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.
    41. Iris Bohnet & Fiona Greig & Benedikt Herrmann & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008. "Betrayal Aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 294-310, March.
    42. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
    43. Nicholas Bardsley & Peter Moffatt, 2007. "The Experimetrics of Public Goods: Inferring Motivations from Contributions," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 161-193, March.
    44. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-950, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human cooperation; punishment; culture; experimental public good games;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D79 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Other
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2010-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Suzanne Robey). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cdnotuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.