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Partners contribute more to Public Goods than Strangers: Conditional Cooperation

Author

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  • Claudia Keser

    (University of Karlsruhe)

  • Frans van Winden

    () (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

In a series of experiments, we compare a situation where the same group of four subjects plays 25 repetitions of a public good game (partners condition) to a situation where subjects play this game in changing group formations over 25 periods (strangers condition). We observe that, on aggregate over all periods, subjects in the partners condition contribute significantly more to the public good than subjects in the strangers condition. This difference is significant already in the first period. In the strangers condition, contributions show a continual decay, while in the partners condition, contributionsfluctuate on a relatively high level until they drastically decrease in the final periods. Our tentative explanation is that subjects' behavior in the public good situation represents conditional cooperation, characterized by both future-oriented and simple reactive behavior. With this interpretation, we are able to explain the observed differences between the twoconditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Keser & Frans van Winden, 1997. "Partners contribute more to Public Goods than Strangers: Conditional Cooperation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-018/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:19970018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
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    4. Davis, Douglas D. & Holt, Charles a., 1993. "Experimental economics: Methods, problems and promise," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 8(2), pages 179-212.
    5. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
    6. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-197, Summer.
    7. Keser, Claudia, 1996. "Voluntary contributions to a public good when partial contribution is a dominant strategy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 359-366, March.
    8. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-845, July.
    9. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-787, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreoni, James & Croson, Rachel, 2008. "Partners versus Strangers: Random Rematching in Public Goods Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, in: Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.),Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 82, pages 776-783, Elsevier.

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    Keywords

    Experimental Economics; Public Goods;

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