IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hrv/faseco/3804483.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation

Author

Listed:
  • Rand, David Gertler
  • Dreber, Anna
  • Fudenberg, Drew
  • Ellingson, Tore
  • Nowak, Martin A.

Abstract

The public goods game is the classic laboratory paradigm for studying collective action problems. Each participant chooses how much to contribute to a common pool that returns benefits to all participants equally. The ideal outcome occurs if everybody contributes the maximum amount, but the self-interested strategy is not to contribute anything. Most previous studies have found punishment to be more effective than reward for maintaining cooperation in public goods games. The typical design of these studies, however, represses future consequences for today’s actions. In an experimental setting, we compare public goods games followed by punishment, reward, or both in the setting of truly repeated games, in which player identities persist from round to round. We show that reward is as effective as punishment for maintaining public cooperation and leads to higher total earnings. Moreover, when both options are available, reward leads to increased contributions and payoff, whereas punishment has no effect on contributions and leads to lower payoff. We conclude that reward outperforms punishment in repeated public goods games and that human cooperation in such repeated settings is best supported by positive interactions with others.

Suggested Citation

  • Rand, David Gertler & Dreber, Anna & Fudenberg, Drew & Ellingson, Tore & Nowak, Martin A., 2009. "Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation," Scholarly Articles 3804483, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3804483
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3804483/Nowak_PositiveInteractions.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3804483. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Office for Scholarly Communication). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deharus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.