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Priming Cooperation in Social Dilemma Games

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  • M Drouvelis
  • R Metcalfe
  • N Powdthavee

Abstract

Research on public goods mainly focuses its attention on the ability of incentives, beliefs and group structure to affect behaviour in social dilemma interactions. This paper investigates the pure effects of a rather subtle mechanism on social preferences in a one-shot linear public good game. Using priming techniques from social psychology, we activate the concept of cooperation and explore the extent to which this intervention brings about changes in people's voluntary contributions to the public good and self-reported emotional responses. Our findings suggest that priming cooperation increases contribution levels, controlling for subjects' gender. Our priming effect is much stronger for females than for males. This difference can be explained by a shift in subjects' beliefs about contributions. We also find a significant impact of priming on mean positive emotional responses.

Suggested Citation

  • M Drouvelis & R Metcalfe & N Powdthavee, 2010. "Priming Cooperation in Social Dilemma Games," Discussion Papers 10/07, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:10/07
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    2. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & Geoffrey Fisher, 2016. "Religious Identity and Economic Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 617-637, October.
    3. Haghani, Milad & Bliemer, Michiel C.J. & Rose, John M. & Oppewal, Harmen & Lancsar, Emily, 2021. "Hypothetical bias in stated choice experiments: Part II. Conceptualisation of external validity, sources and explanations of bias and effectiveness of mitigation methods," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    4. Anabel Belaus & Cecilia Reyna & Esteban Freidin, 2018. "Testing the effect of cooperative/competitive priming on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. A replication study," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(12), pages 1-15, December.
    5. Metcalfe, Robert & Dolan, Paul, 2012. "Behavioural economics and its implications for transport," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 503-511.
    6. Dolan, P. & Hallsworth, M. & Halpern, D. & King, D. & Metcalfe, R. & Vlaev, I., 2012. "Influencing behaviour: The mindspace way," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 264-277.
    7. Andersson, Ola & Huysentruyt, Marieke & Miettinen, Topi & Stephan, Ute, 2014. "Person-Organization Fit and Incentives: A Causal Test," Working Paper Series 1010, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    8. Milad Haghani & Michiel C. J. Bliemer & John M. Rose & Harmen Oppewal & Emily Lancsar, 2021. "Hypothetical bias in stated choice experiments: Part II. Macro-scale analysis of literature and effectiveness of bias mitigation methods," Papers 2102.02945, arXiv.org.
    9. Fischer, Justina A.V., 2012. "The choice of domestic policies in a globalized economy," Papers 306, World Trade Institute.
    10. Vanessa Mertins & Susanne Warning, 2013. "Gender Differences in Responsiveness to a Homo Economicus Prime in the Gift-Exchange Game," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201309, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    11. Banerjee, Ritwik, 2016. "Corruption, norm violation and decay in social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 14-27.
    12. Ola Andersson & Marieke Huysentruyt & Topi Miettinen & Ute Stephan, 2017. "Person–Organization Fit and Incentives: A Causal Test," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(1), pages 73-96, January.
    13. Brizi, Ambra & Giacomantonio, Mauro & Schumpe, Birga M. & Mannetti, Lucia, 2015. "Intention to pay taxes or to avoid them: The impact of social value orientation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 22-31.
    14. Fischer, Justina A.V., 2012. "The choice of domestic policies in a globalized economy: Extended Version," MPRA Paper 37816, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Priming; contributions; beliefs; emotional responses; public goods experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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