Individuals' Voting Choice and Cooperation in Repeated Social Dilemma Games
In this paper we explore the relationship between the individual’s preference for cooperation and the establishment of cooperative norms. Our aim is to provide an experimental test of the evolutionary hypothesis (see Carpenter, 2004, Fehr and Gachter 2002; Gintis 2000; Boyd, Bowles, Gintis and Richerson 2003; Bowles and Gintis 2004), according to which individuals are prepared to punish defectors in experimental social dilemma games because they want to enforce a social (“altruistic”) norm which may conduce to increasing their future payoffs, as in the case of sanctions against free riding behaviour. According to this line of research , the high levels of cooperation we observe in our societies can, therefore, be strictly related to the establishment of social norms which are able to enforce and maintain cooperation in the long run. We study the results of two experiments in which the individuals decided both whether to participate in a common project and the institutional rule according to which the profits of the project had to be shared among each of the participants in the group. They could choose between 1) a regime where gains were shared equally, regardless of individuals’ contributions and without sanctions and rewards (System A); 2) a regime where individuals were paid according to their marginal contribution, but the profits of the investments were lower than in the other contexts (System B); finally 3) a regime in which gains were shared equally (as in System A), but individuals were allowed to punish (and\or reward) free riding (cooperative) behaviours as in Sefton, Shupp and Walker (2007). Before the experiments took place, our subjects were required to fill a questionnaire composed of four sections, where their attitude to cooperate and their opinions on civic values and free riding behaviours were thoroughly explored. We then monitored the behaviour of potential free riders and cooperators in the game and their institutional choices. Our results partly contradict the evolutionary hypothesis in as much as System A and B received the largest shares of votes in almost all rounds and they were voted by free riders and cooperators alike. Thus, most individuals do not like sanctions (incentives) against defectors and free riders (cooperators), and their institutional preferences do not seem to be related to their willingness to cooperate. The inspection of individual data, however, reveals some interesting points. In fact, we can assert that System C was mostly chosen by cooperative individuals in response to observed free riding behaviour. Furthermore, when a cooperative individual chose C, she would tend to punish free riders and reward cooperators. Our conclusion is that, as far as the institutional choices are concerned, beside the profit motivations underlined in the evolutionary hypothesis, the ethical and cultural unobserved individual preferences play an important role. There is a number of individuals (limited in our experiments, ranging between 15 and 30 per cent of the entire population) who see cooperation as the “right” thing to do, and therefore are prepared to implement institutional rules that may favour this collective outcome. Most people in our experiments did not share these same values.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Piazza San Francesco 7, 53100 Siena|
Web page: http://www.depfid.unisi.it/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2006.
"Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods,"
2006-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gï¿½chter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2006. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," Discussion Papers 2006-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- Fischbacher, Urs & Gächter, Simon, 2006. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 2011, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews & Okomboli Ong'ong'a, 2003.
"Why Punish: Social Reciprocity and the Enforcement of Prosocial Norms,"
Middlebury College Working Paper Series
0213r, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
- Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews & Okomboli Ong’ong’a, 2004. "Why Punish? Social reciprocity and the enforcement of prosocial norms," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 407-429, October.
- Peter Matthews & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2002. "Why Punish: Social Reciprocity and the Enforcement of Prosocial Norms," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0213, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
- Pedro Dal Bó & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2008.
"Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy,"
NBER Working Papers
13999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2010. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2205-29, December.
- Pedro Dal Bo & Andrew Foster & Louis Putterman, 2007. "Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy," Working Papers 2007-9, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007.
"The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods,"
Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
- Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2006. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Caepr Working Papers 2006-005, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington, revised Aug 2006.
- Martin Sefton & Robert S. Shupp & James Walker, 2005. "The Effect of Rewards and Sanctions in Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 200504, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2005.
- Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
- Rowthorn, Robert E. & Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos, 2009. "Theories of the evolution of cooperative behaviour: A critical survey plus some new results," MPRA Paper 12574, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996.
9610, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Slemrod, Joel, 1998. "On Voluntary Compliance, Voluntary Taxes, and Social Capital," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 3), pages 485-91, September.
- Annamaria Nese, 2008. "Il problema dell'evasione fiscale: opinioni e comportamenti," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2008(94), pages 95-119.
- Casari, Marco & Luini, Luigi, 2005.
"Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment,"
Purdue University Economics Working Papers
1176, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
- Marco Casari & Luigi Luini, 2005. "Group Cooperation Under Alternative Peer Punishment Technologies: An Experiment," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 002, University of Siena.
- Torgler, Benno, 2003. "To evade taxes or not to evade: that is the question," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 283-302, July.
- Marco Faillo & Stefania Ottone & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2008.
"Compliance by believing: an experimental exploration on social norms and impartial agreements,"
Department of Economics Working Papers
0810, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
- Marco Faillo & Stefania Ottone & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2008. "Compliance by Believing: An Experimental Exploration on Social Norms and Impartial Agreements," Econometica Working Papers wp02, Econometica, revised Aug 2008.
- Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
- Jeremy Clark, 1998. "Fairness in Public Good Provision: An Investigation of Preferences for Equality and Proportionality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 708-729, August.
- Arhan Ertan & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2005. "Can Endogenously Chosen Institutions Mitigate the Free-Rider Problem and Reduce Perverse Punishment?," Working Papers 2005-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Sandmo, Agnar, 2005. "The Theory of Tax Evasion: A Retrospective View," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(4), pages 643-63, December.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999.
"Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
183, CESifo Group Munich.
- Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Bordignon, Massimo, 1993. "A fairness approach to income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 345-362, October.
- Haigner, Stefan & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Choosing the Stick or the Carrot? Endogenous Institutional Choice in Social Dilemma Situations," CEPR Discussion Papers 5497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Anabela Botelho & Glenn W. Harrison & Lígia Costa Pinto & Elisabet E. Rutstrom, 2005. "Social norms and social choice," NIMA Working Papers 30, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usi:labsit:025. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alessandro Innocenti)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.