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Second Thoughts on Free Riding

  • Ulrik H. Nielsen

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), University of Vienna, Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

  • Erik Wengström

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

We use the strategy method to classify subjects into cooperator types in a large-scale online Public Goods Game and find that free riders spend more time on making their decisions than conditional cooperators and other cooperator types. This result is robust to reversing the framing of the game and is not driven by free riders lacking cognitive ability, confusion, or natural swiftness in responding. Our results suggest that conditional cooperation serves as a norm and that free riders need time to resolve a moral dilemma.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 13-08.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 04 Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1308
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  1. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
  2. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Munich Reprints in Economics 18211, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Christian Thöni & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2009. "Microfoundations of Social Capital," Discussion Papers 09-24, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2010.
  4. Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Working Papers 2006.36, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Fosgaard, Toke R. & Hansen, Lars Gårn & Wengström, Erik, 2014. "Understanding the nature of cooperation variability," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 134-143.
  6. Wilcox, Nathaniel T, 1993. "Lottery Choice: Incentives, Complexity and Decision Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1397-1417, November.
  7. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Ralph-C. Bayer & Elke Renner & Rupert Sausgruber, 2013. "Confusion and learning in the voluntary contributions game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 478-496, December.
  9. Lotito, Gianna & Migheli, Matteo & Ortona, Guido, 2011. "Is cooperation instinctive? Evidence from the response times in a Public Goods Game," POLIS Working Papers 161, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  10. Ferraro Paul J & Vossler Christian A, 2010. "The Source and Significance of Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-42, July.
  11. Piovesan, Marco & Wengström, Erik, 2009. "Fast or fair? A study of response times," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 193-196, November.
  12. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
  13. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
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