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Does expressing disapproval influence future cooperation? An experimental study

1st Person: Koukoumelis, Anastasios
Additional Persons: Levati, M. Vittoria
Type of Publication: Paper
Language: English
Published: Max Planck Institute of Economics 2014
Series: Jena Economic Research Papers
Online: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/104572/1/797018263.pdf
Description: We report on an experiment designed to explore whether a written expression of disapproval affects future levels of cooperation. In between two identical public goods games, participants play a mini dictator game that, depending on the treatment, either gives or does not give the recipient the opportunity to text the dictator. The recipients of an unfair offer contribute significantly less in the second public goods game. Yet, the contribution reductions are significantly smaller in the treatments allowing for recipient communication. To control for belief-based explanations of these findings, we run treatments where we elicit beliefs about the others´ contributions. It turns out that the reductions in contributions, but not the reductions in beliefs, of the unfairly treated recipients are notably smaller when messaging is possible. This tends to suggest that allowing for communication opportunities helps to curtail selfishness.

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