Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation

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Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation

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Title: Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation
Author: Rand, David Gertler; Dreber, Anna; Ellingson, Tore; Fudenberg, Drew; Nowak, Martin A.

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Citation: Rand, David G., Anna Dreber, Tore Ellingsen, Drew Fudenberg, and Martin A. Nowak. 2009. Positive interactions promote public cooperation. Science 325(5945): 1272-1275
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Abstract: The public goods game is the classic laboratory paradigm for studying collective action problems. Each participant chooses how much to contribute to a common pool that returns benefits to all participants equally. The ideal outcome occurs if everybody contributes the maximum amount, but the self-interested strategy is not to contribute anything. Most previous studies have found punishment to be more effective than reward for maintaining cooperation in public goods games. The typical design of these studies, however, represses future consequences for today’s actions. In an experimental setting, we compare public goods games followed by punishment, reward, or both in the setting of truly repeated games, in which player identities persist from round to round. We show that reward is as effective as punishment for maintaining public cooperation and leads to higher total earnings. Moreover, when both options are available, reward leads to increased contributions and payoff, whereas punishment has no effect on contributions and leads to lower payoff. We conclude that reward outperforms punishment in repeated public goods games and that human cooperation in such repeated settings is best supported by positive interactions with others.
Published Version: doi:10.1126/science.1177418
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3804483

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7495]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University
 
 

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