Can we manage first impressions in cooperation problems? An experimental study on “Broken (and Fixed) Windows”

Publication Type  Preprints
Author  Christoph Engel, Sebastian Kube, Michael Kurschilgen
Year of Publication  2011
Issue  2011/05
Abstract  Cooperation problems are at the heart of many everyday situations. In this paper, we propose a very simple and light-handed mechanism to sustain cooperation and test its performance in a rich laboratory environment. The mechanism moderates cooperation by controlling experiences, more specifically, it "manipulates" subjects’ initial beliefs by providing them with selective information about (un)cooperative behavior in other, unrelated, groups. We observe that contributions are considerably sensitive to such selective information. First impressions participants happen to make predict subsequent behavior. Our results, however, suggest an asymmetry in the strength of the reaction – which might pose a limit on the effectiveness of the mechanism in natural settings.
Publisher  Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
Place Published  Bonn
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