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Cooperation In Viscous Populations - Experimental Evidence

  • Friederike Mengel

    ()

    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Veronika Grimm

    ()

    (Universidad de Alicante)

We experimentally investigate the effect of population viscosity (an increased probability to interact with others of one's type or group) on cooperation in a standard prisoner's dilemma environment. Subjects can repeatedly choose between two groups that differ in the defector gain in the associated prisoner's dilemma. Choosing into the group with the smaller defector-gain can signal one's willingness to cooperate. The degree of viscosity is varied across treatments. We find that viscosity produces an endogenous sorting of cooperators and defectors and persistently high rates ofcooperation. Higher viscosity leads to a sharp increase in overall cooperation rates and in addition positively affects the subjects' intrinsic willingness to cooperate.

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Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2007-17.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2007-17
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  1. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier, 2006. "The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence Using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 212-216, May.
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  7. Giorgio Coricelli & Dietmar Fehr & Gerlinde Fellner, 2004. "Partner Selection in Public Goods Experiments," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 48(3), pages 356-378, June.
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  10. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
  11. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
  12. Myerson, Roger B. & Pollock, Gregory B. & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 1991. "Viscous population equilibria," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 101-109, February.
  13. Mengel, Friederike, 2008. "Matching structure and the cultural transmission of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 608-623, September.
  14. Michael Kosfeld, . "Network Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 152, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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