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Civic Capital in Two Cultures: The Nature of Cooperation in Romania and USA

  • Tore Ellingsen
  • Benedikt Herrmann
  • Martin A. Nowak
  • David G. Rand
  • Corina E. Tarnita

We experimentally investigate the nature of cooperation in various repeated games, with subjects from Romania and USA. We find stark cross-country differences in the propensity to sustain multilateral cooperation through bilateral rewards and punishments. U.S. groups perform well because sufficiently many cooperators are willing to discipline free riders. Romanian cooperators are less prone to jeopardize their productive bilateral relationships for the benefit of the group, collectively failing to provide adequate discipline. Our analysis indicates that the performance differences constitute a group-level phenomenon, being largely due differences in shared beliefs rather than differences in individuals’ preferences.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4042.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4042
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  1. 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 541-56, March.
  2. James Andreoni & William T. harbaugh & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "The Carrot or the Stick: Rewards, Punishments, and Cooperation," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2002-01, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 20 Aug 2002.
  3. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun, 2012. "The Organization of Firms Across Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1663-1705.
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  6. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2007. "The limits of self-governance when cooperators get punished: Experimental evidence from urban and rural Russia," Discussion Papers 2007-11, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  7. Klaus Abbink & Benedikt Herrmann, 2009. "The Moral Costs of Nastiness," Discussion Papers 2009-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  8. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
  9. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Noussair, Charles N. & Wilkening, Tom, 2012. "Normative conflict and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 797-807.
  10. Nikos Nikiforakis & Charles N. Noussair & Tom Wilkening, 2011. "Normative Conflict & Feuds: The Limits of Self-Enforcement," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1120, The University of Melbourne.
  11. Jan Svejnar, 2001. "Transition Economies: Performances and Challenges," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 415, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796, July.
  14. Matthias Blonski & Peter Ockenfels & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2011. "Equilibrium Selection in the Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Axiomatic Approach and Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 164-92, August.
  15. Russell J. Dalton, 2008. "Citizenship Norms and the Expansion of Political Participation," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 56, pages 76-98, 03.
  16. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 1999. "Social relations and cooperation in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-25, January.
  17. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Engelmann, Dirk, 2011. "Altruistic punishment and the threat of feuds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 319-332, May.
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