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Strategic signaling or emotional sanctioning? An experimental study of ex post communication in a repeated public goods game

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  • Adam Zylbersztejn

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

Several experimental studies show that ex post communication promotes generosity in situations where individual incentives contradict with common interest, like the provision of public goods. The root underlying the effect of this institution, especially in a repeated interaction, is nonetheless still obscure. This study provides a novel empirical testbed for two mechanisms by which ex post communication may affect behavior in repeated interactions : one is related to strategic signaling, the other involves emotions induces by others' opinions. The main findings are as follows. First, the presence of ex post communication (conducted through the attribution of costless disapproval points) fosters pro-social behavior and reduces free-riding. Second, I find systematic evidence that subjects tend to use ex post communication as a signaling device, whilst no evidence in favor of the emotion-based hypothesis. A possible interpretation of this phenomenon is that ex post messages are used to announce future sanctions for free-riding.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Zylbersztejn, 2013. "Strategic signaling or emotional sanctioning? An experimental study of ex post communication in a repeated public goods game," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00800587, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00800587
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00800587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    voluntary contribution mechanism; ex post communication; Public goods game; Biens publics; communication a posteriori;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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