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Impact of altruistic behavior on group cooperation: A mechanism working in the presence of an altruist may solve the public goods provision problem

Author

Listed:
  • Hiroki Ozono

    (Faculty of Law, Economics and Humanities, Kagoshima University)

  • Yoshio Kamijo

    (Department of Management, Kochi University of Technology)

  • Kazumi Shimizu

    () (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a new mechanism to achieve cooperation in public goods provision. The mechanism is named GEM, which stands for gradualism, endogeneity, and modification, its important properties. In a public goods game with GEM, spread over 20 periods, a target contribution is presented to the players in each period. The target is gradually increased when all members reach it. If players contribute less than the target in a certain period, the minimum contribution will be treated as the next period’s target. In the experiment, the GEM mechanism achieved a high level of cooperation when the participants’contributions were restricted to the target. However, when participants were allowed to contribute more than the target, cooperation was not achieved because of the presence of“excessive altruists”—participants who contributed more than the target.This is because excessive cooperation facilitated free riding by other members. Finally,we discuss the limitation and possibilities of the GEM mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Hiroki Ozono & Yoshio Kamijo & Kazumi Shimizu, 2014. "Impact of altruistic behavior on group cooperation: A mechanism working in the presence of an altruist may solve the public goods provision problem," Working Papers 1408, Waseda University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wap:wpaper:1408
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    3. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    4. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1992. "Communication in Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 739-771.
    5. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1989. "Communication in the Battle of the Sexes Game: Some Experimental Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 568-587, Winter.
    6. COOPER, R. & DEJONG, D.V. & FORSYTHE, R. & Tom Ross, 1989. "Communication In The Battle Of The Sexes Game," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 89-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    7. Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
    8. Levy, David M. & Padgitt, Kail & Peart, Sandra J. & Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte, 2011. "Leadership, cheap talk and really cheap talk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 40-52, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yoshio Kamijo & Hiroki Ozono & Kazumi Shimizu, 2016. "Overcoming coordination failure using a mechanism based on gradualism and endogeneity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 202-217, March.
    2. Yoshio Kamijo & Hiroki Ozono & Kazumi Shimizu, 2015. "A mechanism overcoming coordination failure based on gradualism and endogeneity," Working Papers SDES-2015-11, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Jan 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cooperation; public goods game; altruist; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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