Conditional Cooperation in Students’ Stated Contributions to a Public Good

24 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2013

See all articles by Andrew Meyer

Andrew Meyer

Marquette University

Guanyi Yang

Ohio Wesleyan University

Date Written: April 16, 2013


We analyze a survey of 559 students to investigate how information about peers affects individuals’ stated contributions to a specific pro-environment program — a student “green fee.” Compared to students that receive no information about peer contributions, the students that receive information about the dollar value range of contributions at peer institutions contribute less on average while the students that learn about the high percentage of students voting “yes” on green fee programs at peer institutions contribute more on average. These results support a hypothesis of conditional cooperation and are consistent with motivations for voluntary contributions of reciprocity and conformity. We also find that there are positive associations between 1) individuals’ extent of pro-environment behaviors and their stated contributions and 2) individuals’ certainty that their vote will matter and their stated contributions.

Keywords: conditional cooperation, reciprocity, conformity, public good, referendum

JEL Classification: Q50, H41, C9

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Andrew and Yang, Guanyi, Conditional Cooperation in Students’ Stated Contributions to a Public Good (April 16, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Andrew Meyer (Contact Author)

Marquette University ( email )

1225 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
United States
414-288-5489 (Phone)

Guanyi Yang

Ohio Wesleyan University ( email )

61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
United States

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