Social Influence and Collective Action: An Experiment Investigating the Effects of Visibility and Social Information Moderated by Personality
Helen Zerlina Margetts
Oxford University - Oxford Internet Institute
University College London - School of Public Policy
University of Oxford - Nuffield College
Scott A. Hale
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
November 25, 2012
This paper examines experimentally the effects of two forms of social influence — visibility and social information about the contributions of others — on collective action in a step-level public goods game. We find that visibility has an aggregate positive impact on individual contributions, but social information does not. However, both visibility and social information positively affect the overall likelihood of a collective good being funded, implying that social information induces strategic behaviour and more efficient use of resources. Individual difference variables relating to personality and personal values help to explain treatment effects. Social value orientation predicts differential responses to both treatments, while of the ‘Big Five’ personality traits, agreeableness and extraversion help to predict the impact of visibility.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: social information, social pressure, collective action, laboratory experimentworking papers series
Date posted: July 23, 2011 ; Last revised: February 26, 2013
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