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Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control

  • Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.


    (ESMT European School of Management and Technology)

  • Riener, Gerhard


    (DICE, University of Düsseldorf)

  • Wollbrant, Conny


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

The social dilemma may contain, within the individual, a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the argument from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (merely numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control—and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results shed light on the conditions under which self-control matters for cooperation.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 567.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 07 Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0567
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
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