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Strong, bold, and kind: Self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas

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  • Martin G. Kocher

    (Department of Economics, University of Munich)

  • Peter Martinsson

    (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg)

  • Kristian Ove R. Myrseth

    (ESMT European School of Management and Technology)

  • Conny Wollbrant

    (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

We develop a model that relates self-control and conflict identification to cooperation patterns in social dilemmas. As predicted, we find in a laboratory public goods experiment a robust association between stronger self-control and higher levels of cooperation. This means that there is evidence for an impulse to be selfish and that cooperative behavior requires self-control effort. Free-riders differ from other contributor types only in their tendency not to have identified a self-control conflict in the first place.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2012. "Strong, bold, and kind: Self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-12-01 (R1), ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 28 Mar 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:esm:wpaper:esmt-12-01
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    Cited by:

    1. Recalde M.P. & Riedl A.M. & Vesterlund L., 2014. "Error prone inference from respons time: The case of intuitive generosity," Research Memorandum 034, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    2. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Villegas-Palacio, Clara & Arango, Santiago, 2015. "Phasing out mercury through collective action in artisanal gold mining: Evidence from a framed field experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 406-415.
    4. Furtner, Nadja C. & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2016. "Gender and cooperative preferences on five continents," Discussion Papers in Economics 30226, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    5. Hanna Fromell & Daniele Nosenzo & Trudy Owens, 2014. "Tradeoffs between Self-interest and Other-Regarding Preferences Cause Willpower Depletion," Discussion Papers 2014-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    6. Maria P. Recalde & Arno Riedl & Lise Vesterlund, 2014. "Error Prone Inference from Response Time: The Case of Intuitive Generosity in Public Good Times," CESifo Working Paper Series 4987, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. repec:eee:pubeco:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:132-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Villegas-Palacio, Clara & Arango, Santiago, 2013. "The public good dilemma of a non-renewable common resource: A look at the facts of artisanal gold mining," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 224-232.
    9. Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2014. "Social dilemmas: When self-control benefits cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 213-236.
    10. Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2015. "Less cognitive conflict does not imply choice of the default option: Commentary on Kieslich and Hilbig (2014)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(3), pages 277-279, May.
    11. Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Gerhard Riener & Conny Wollbrant, 2013. "Tangible temptation in the social dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-13-04, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    12. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0029-z is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:jbrese:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:70-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Merkel, Anna & Lohse, Johannes, 2018. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for subjective utility differences under time pressure," Working Papers 0647, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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    Keywords

    self-control; cooperation; public good; risk; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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