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Rich Communication, Social Motivations, and Coordinated Resistance against Divide-and-Conquer: A Laboratory Investigation

Listed author(s):
  • Timothy N. Cason
  • Vai-Lam Mui

Effective deterrence of leader transgression is necessary for economic development, and coordinated resistance by citizens is key to deter leader transgression. Leaders, however, often employ a divide-and-conquer strategy to prevent successful coordinated resistance. This paper presents a laboratory experiment to investigate how social motivations and free-form communication (Rich Communication) can facilitate coordinated resistance. In our experiment, a leader first decides whether to extract surplus from a victim and shares it with a beneficiary. We provide direct statistical evidence that victims and beneficiaries communicate with different intensity and content: victims more quickly and vigorously engage in communication, while beneficiaries propose to acquiesce more frequently. The successful joint resistance rate increases almost four-fold (from 15 to 58 percent) when moving from the more restrictive communication treatments to Rich Communication. We also find that the significant impacts of rich communication are driven more by the responders’ ability to send free-form messages rather than the multiple and iterative opportunities to indicate intentions.

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File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2015/1415richcommcasonmui.pdf
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Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 14-15.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2015
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2015-14
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Department of Economics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia

Phone: +61-3-9905-2493
Fax: +61-3-9905-5476
Web page: http://business.monash.edu/economics
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