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Conditional Cooperation: Evidence for the Role of Self-Control

Author

Listed:
  • Martinsson, Peter

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.

    () (ESMT European School of Management and Technology, Berlin, Germany)

  • Wollbrant, Conny

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

When facing the opportunity to allocate resources between oneself and others, individuals may experience a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and preferences to act pro-socially. We explore the domain of conditional cooperation, and we test the hypothesis that increased expectations about others’ average contribution increases own contributions to public goods more when self-control is high than when it is low. We pair a subtle framing technique with a public goods experiment. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that conditionally cooperative behavior is stronger (i.e., less imperfect) when expectations of high contributions are accompanied by high levels of self-control.

Suggested Citation

  • Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2010. "Conditional Cooperation: Evidence for the Role of Self-Control," Working Papers in Economics 459, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0459
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/23048
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
    3. Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2010. "Reconciling Pro-Social vs. Selfish Behavior - Evidence for the Role of Self-Control," Working Papers in Economics 445, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    4. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    5. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
    6. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
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    14. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
    15. Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2010. "Reconciling pro-social versus selfish behavior: Evidence for the role of self-control," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-10-003 (R1), ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 09 Jul 2010.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-control; Pro-social behavior; Public good experiment; Conditional cooperation;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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