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Conditioning on What? Heterogeneous Contributions and Conditional Cooperation

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Listed:
  • Bjoern Hartig

    () (Royal Holloway, University of London, Department of Economics)

  • Bernd Irlenbusch

    () (University of Cologne, Department of Corporate Development and Business Ethics)

  • Felix Koelle

    () (University of Nottingham, School of Economics)

Abstract

We experimentally investigate how different information about others’ individual contributions affects conditional cooperators’ willingness to cooperate in a one-shot linear public goods game. We find that when information about individual contributions is provided, contributions are generally higher than when only average information is available. This effect is particularly strong when others’ individual contributions are relatively homogeneous. When both types of information are provided, this effect is moderated. In the case of individual feedback we find the willingness to contribute to be higher the lower the variation in others' contributions, but with pronounced heterogeneity in individuals’ reactions. While the majority of conditional cooperators’ are mainly guided by others’ average contributions, more people follow the bad example of a low contributor than the good example of a high contributor. Overall, we provide evidence that information (and lack thereof) about others’ individual contributions affects conditional cooperators’ willingness to cooperate in systematic ways.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjoern Hartig & Bernd Irlenbusch & Felix Koelle, 2014. "Conditioning on What? Heterogeneous Contributions and Conditional Cooperation," Discussion Papers 2014-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2014-12
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    Keywords

    Conditional cooperation; Information; Heterogeneity; Public goods;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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