Cooperation and Authoritarian Norms: An experimental study in China
There is ample evidence for a “democracy premium”. Laws that have been implemented via election lead to a more cooperative behavior compared to a top-down approach. This has been observed using field data and laboratory experiments. We present evidence from Chinese students and workers who participated in public goods experiments and a value survey. We find a premium for top-down rule implementation stemming from people with stronger individual values for obeying authorities. When participants have values for obeying authorities, they even conform to non-preferred rule. Our findings provide strong evidence that the efficiency of political institutions depends on societal norms.
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