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Priming Cooperation in Social Dilemma Games

  • Drouvelis, Michalis

    ()

    (University of Birmingham)

  • Metcalfe, Robert

    ()

    (University of Oxford)

  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh

    ()

    (London School of Economics)

Research on public goods mainly focuses its attention on the ability of incentives, beliefs and group structure to affect behaviour in social dilemma interactions. This paper investigates the pure effects of a rather subtle mechanism on social preferences in a one-shot linear public good game. Using priming techniques from social psychology, we activate the concept of cooperation and explore the extent to which this intervention brings about changes in people’s voluntary contributions to the public good and self-reported emotional responses. Our findings suggest that priming cooperation increases contribution levels, controlling for subjects' gender. Our priming effect is much stronger for females than for males. This difference can be explained by a shift in subjects' beliefs about contributions. We also find a significant impact of priming on mean positive emotional responses.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4963.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: May 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4963
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