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Does expressing disapproval influence future cooperation? An experimental study

Author

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  • Anastasios Koukoumelis

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

  • M. Vittoria Levati

    (University of Verona, and Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

Abstract

We report on an experiment designed to explore whether a written expression of disapproval affects future levels of cooperation. In between two identical public goods games, participants play a mini dictator game that, depending on the treatment, either gives or does not give the recipient the opportunity to text the dictator. The recipients of an unfair offer contribute significantly less in the second public goods game. Yet, the contribution reductions are significantly smaller in the treatments allowing for recipient communication. To control for belief-based explanations of these findings, we run treatments where we elicit beliefs about the others' contributions. It turns out that the reductions in contributions, but not the reductions in beliefs, of the unfairly treated recipients are notably smaller when messaging is possible. This tends to suggest that allowing for communication opportunities helps to curtail selfishness.

Suggested Citation

  • Anastasios Koukoumelis & M. Vittoria Levati, 2014. "Does expressing disapproval influence future cooperation? An experimental study," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-022
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    File URL: http://www2.wiwi.uni-jena.de/Papers/jerp2014/wp_2014_022.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Samahita, Margaret, 2017. "Venting and gossiping in conflicts: Verbal expression in ultimatum games," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 111-121.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods game; dictator minigame; emotions; cooperation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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