The Sources of the Communication Gap

38 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2015

See all articles by Simin He

Simin He

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - School of Economics

T. J. S. Offerman

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB); Tinbergen Institute

Jeroen van de Ven

University of Amsterdam; Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: April 24, 2015

Abstract

Face-to-face communication drastically increases cooperation rates in social dilemmas. We test which factors are the most important drivers of this communication gap. We distinguish three main categories. First, communication may decrease social distance. Second, communication may enable subjects to assess their opponent’s cooperativeness (“type recognition”) and condition their own action on that information. Third, communication allows subjects to make promises, which create commitment for subjects who do not want to break a promise. We find that communication increases cooperation by 56 percentage points. Roughly 74% of this effect can be attributed to type recognition, the remaining 26% to a commitment value. We do not find evidence that social distance plays a role.

Keywords: communication, cooperation, prisoner’s dilemma, social distance, type recognition, commitment

JEL Classification: C72, C91

Suggested Citation

He, Simin and Offerman, T. J. S. and van de Ven, Jeroen, The Sources of the Communication Gap (April 24, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2598441 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2598441

Simin He

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - School of Economics ( email )

777 Guoding Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

T. J. S. Offerman

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Jeroen Van de Ven (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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