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The Effect of Communication Media on Cooperation

  • Jeannette Brosig
  • Axel Ockenfels
  • Joachim Weimann

We examine how communication affects cooperation with the help of seven standard public goods experiments that only differ with respect to the medium of pre-play communication. Our treatments include bi-directional and unidirectional communication via (mostly electronic) auditory and/or visual channels. The results suggest that successful cooperation is attributable to the opportunity of ‘coordinating’ behavior in the communication phase. Furthermore, both the level and the stability of cooperation significantly interact with the communication medium, even though the content of communication is remarkably similar across the communication treatments.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2002-17.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2002-17
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  1. Holt, Charles A. & Laury, Susan K., 2008. "Theoretical Explanations of Treatment Effects in Voluntary Contributions Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
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  15. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  16. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  17. Kevin McCabe & Elizabeth Hoffman & Vernon L. Smith, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 340-341, March.
  18. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S., 1999. "The sound of silence in prisoner's dilemma and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 43-57, January.
  19. Andreoni, James A & Miller, John H, 1993. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(418), pages 570-85, May.
  20. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
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  22. Brosig, Jeannette, 2002. "Identifying cooperative behavior: some experimental results in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 275-290, March.
  23. Andreoni, James, 1993. "An Experimental Test of the Public-Goods Crowding-Out Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1317-27, December.
  24. 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.
  25. Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 1998. "A theoretical analysis of altruism and decision error in public goods games," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 297-323, November.
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