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Divided Loyalties or Conditional Cooperation? An experimental study of contributions to multiple public goods

  • Matthew W. McCarter


    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

  • Anya C. Samak

    (School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

It is common in organizational life to be simultaneously involved in multiple collective actions. These collective actions may be modeled using public good dilemmas. The developing social dilemma literature has two perspectives – the “divided loyalties” and “conditional cooperation” perspectives – that give opposite predictions about how individuals will behave when they simultaneously play two identical public good games. The current paper creates consensus between these social dilemma perspectives by examining cooperative behavior of participants interacting in two public good games with either different or the same group members. In each round, individuals have a common budget constraint across the two games. In support of the conditional cooperator’s perspective of social dilemmas, we find that playing two games with different, rather than same, group members increases overall contributions. Over the course of the experiment, participants playing two games with different group members shift their contributions significantly more often toward more cooperative public good games than participants playing with the same group members.

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Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 13-08.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:13-08
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