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Conditioning on What? Heterogeneous Contributions and Conditional Cooperation

Listed author(s):
  • 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)

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.

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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/cedex-discussion-paper-2014-12.pdf
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Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2014-12.

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Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2014-12
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School of Economics University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD

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Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/cedex/

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