Culture and Cooperation

30 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2010

See all articles by Simon Gaechter

Simon Gaechter

University of Nottingham; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Benedikt Herrmann

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Christian Thöni

University of Lausanne

Date Written: June 9, 2010

Abstract

Does the cultural background influence the success with which genetically unrelated individuals cooperate in social dilemma situations? In this paper we provide an answer by analyzing the data of Herrmann et al. (Science 2008, pp. 1362-1367), who study cooperation and punishment in sixteen subject pools from six different world cultures (as classified by Inglehart & Baker (American Sociological Review 2000, pp. 19-51)). We use analysis of variance to disentangle the importance of cultural background relative to individual heterogeneity and group-level differences in cooperation. We find that culture has a substantial influence on the extent of cooperation, in addition to individual heterogeneity and group-level differences identified by previous research. The significance of this result is that cultural background has a substantial influence on cooperation in otherwise identical environments. This is particularly true in the presence of punishment opportunities.

Keywords: human cooperation, punishment, culture, experimental public good games

JEL Classification: C92, D64, D79, H41, Z10, Z13

Suggested Citation

Gachter, Simon and Herrmann, Benedikt and Thöni, Christian, Culture and Cooperation (June 9, 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3070, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1622594

Simon Gachter (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Benedikt Herrmann

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

Christian Thöni

University of Lausanne ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/christianthoeni/

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