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Do Children Cooperate Conditionally? Adapting the Strategy Method for First-Graders

Author

Listed:
  • Florian Hett

    (Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main)

  • Mario Mechtel

    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

  • Henning Müller

    (NHH Bergen)

  • Felix Schmidt

    (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

  • Daniel Schunk

    (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

  • Valentin Wagner

    (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics)

Abstract

We develop a public goods game (PGG) to measure cooperation and conditional cooperation in young children. Our design addresses several obstacles in adapting simultaneous and sequential PGGs to children who are not yet able to read or write, do not possess advanced abilities to calculate payo s, and only have a very limited attention span at their disposal. It features the combination of haptic online explanation, fully standardized audiovisual instructions, computerized choices based on touchscreens, and a suitable incentive scheme. Applying our experimental protocol to a sample of German first-graders, we find that already 6-year-olds cooperate conditionally and that the relative frequency of di erent cooperation types matches the findings for adult subjects. We also find that neither survey items from teachers nor from parents predict unconditional or conditional cooperation behavior; this underlines the value of incentivized experimental protocols for measuring cooperation in children.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Hett & Mario Mechtel & Henning Müller & Felix Schmidt & Daniel Schunk & Valentin Wagner, 2018. "Do Children Cooperate Conditionally? Adapting the Strategy Method for First-Graders," Working Papers 1803, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
  • Handle: RePEc:jgu:wpaper:1803
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conditional cooperation; strategy method; public goods game; revealed preferences; measurement; children; ingroup bias; group identity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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