Culture and Cooperation
University of Nottingham; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
University of Nottingham - School of Economics
University of St. Gallen
June 9, 2010
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3070
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: human cooperation, punishment, culture, experimental public good games
JEL Classification: C92, D64, D79, H41, Z10, Z13working papers series
Date posted: June 15, 2010
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