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Ode to the sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation

Author

Listed:
  • Uri Gneezy
  • Andreas Leibbrandt
  • John A. List

Abstract

The functioning and well-being of any society and organization critically hinges on norms of cooperation that regulate social activities. Empirical evidence on how such norms emerge and in which environments they thrive remains a clear void in the literature. To provide an initial set of insights, we overlay a set of field experiments in a natural setting. Our approach is to compare behavior in Brazilian fishermen societies that differ along one major dimension: the workplace organization. In one society (located by the sea) fishermen are forced to work in groups whereas in the adjacent society (located on a lake) fishing is inherently an individual activity. We report sharp evidence that the sea fishermen trust and cooperate more and have greater ability to coordinate group actions than their lake fishermen counterparts. These findings are consistent with the argument that people internalize social norms that emerge from specific needs and support the idea that socio-ecological factors play a decisive role in the proliferation of pro-social behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • Uri Gneezy & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2014. "Ode to the sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation," NBER Working Papers 20234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20234
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2011. "A field study on cooperativeness and impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1144-1155, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meier, Stephan & Pierce, Lamar & Vaccaro, Antonino & La Cara, Barbara, 2016. "Trust and in-group favoritism in a culture of crime," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 78-92.
    2. Shoji, Masahiro, 2016. "Incentive of risk sharing and trust formation: Experimental and survey evidence from Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 71950, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Jang, Chaning & Lynham, John, 2015. "Where do social preferences come from?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 25-28.
    5. Vincent Leyaro & Pablo Selaya & Neda Trifkovic, 2017. "Fishermen’s wives: On the cultural origins of violence against women," WIDER Working Paper Series 205, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. repec:now:jirere:101.00000084 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zack Dorner & Daniel A. Brent & Anke Leroux, 2016. "Preferences for Intrinsically Risky Attributes," Monash Economics Working Papers 32-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. Daniela Di Cagno & Werner Güth & Marcello Puca & Patrizia Sbriglia, 2017. "Group Influence in Sharing Experiments," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 050, University of Siena.
    9. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Truth-telling and the regulator: Evidence from a field experiment with commercial fishermen," Kiel Working Papers 2063, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    10. Brent, Daniel A. & Friesen, Lana & Gangadharan, Lata & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2017. "Behavioral Insights from Field Experiments in Environmental Economics," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 10(2), pages 95-143, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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