Competition and Cooperation in a Public Goods Game: A Field Experiment
Cunha, Jesse M.
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We explore the effects of competitive and cooperative motivations on contributions in a field experiment. 10,000 potential political donors received solicitations referencing past contribution behavior of members of the competing party (competition treatment), the same party (cooperative treatment), or no past contribution information (control). Contribution rates in the competitive, cooperative, and control treatments were 1.45%, 1.08%, and 0.78%, respectively. With the exception of one large contribution, the distribution of contributions in the competitive treatment first order stochastically dominates that of the cooperative treatment. Qualitatively, it appears that the cooperative treatment induced more contributions around the common monetary reference point, while the competitive treatment led to more contributions at twice this amount. These results suggest that eliciting competitive rather than cooperative motivations can lead to higher contributions in intergroup public good settings.
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