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Group (Re-)formation in Public Good Games: The Tale of the Bad Apple

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  • Grund, Christian

    () (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Harbring, Christine

    () (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Thommes, Kirsten

    () (University of Paderborn)

Abstract

We analyze how different previous roles as partners or strangers in public good games affect an individual's subsequent cooperation in a partner setting. We systematically vary a group's composition from all individuals being partner over blended groups of partners and strangers to all individuals being stranger in each round. Our results show that previous group composition does not affect cooperation in the subsequent partner setting with one exception: Groups cooperate significantly less compared to all other settings, when one stranger entered the group. We further analyze this situation in-depth and find that individuals may labor under an ultimate attribution error: They feel that the newcomer is a "bad apple". The cooperativeness towards the newcomer, but also among oldtimers is disturbed in this case. We conduct additional treatments to back up this result and to show how certain information can prevent such an error.

Suggested Citation

  • Grund, Christian & Harbring, Christine & Thommes, Kirsten, 2016. "Group (Re-)formation in Public Good Games: The Tale of the Bad Apple," IZA Discussion Papers 9982, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9982
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    Cited by:

    1. Angelova, Vera & Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G., 2019. "Leadership in a Public Goods Experiment with Permanent and Temporary Members," IHS Working Paper Series 10, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    2. Angelovski, Andrej & Di Cagno, Daniela & Güth, Werner & Marazzi, Francesca & Panaccione, Luca, 2018. "Does heterogeneity spoil the basket? The role of productivity and feedback information on public good provision," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 40-49.
    3. Pietro Battiston & Simona Gamba & Matteo Rizzolli & Valentina Rotondi, 2018. "What exactly is public in a public good game? A lab-in-the-field experiment," Working Papers 125, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    4. Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2020. "Public goods, property rights, and investment incentives: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 514-532.
    5. Jan Schmitz, 2019. "When Two Become One: How Group Mergers Affect Solidarity," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-42, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cooperation; economic experiments; group composition; public good game; teams;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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