Sex Matters: The Impact of Information on Cooperation
23 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2007 Last revised: 28 Aug 2016
Date Written: June 21, 2016
We test the impact of explicit information on individual decisions in a public goods game experiment. In the Implicit (control) condition, participants make their decisions after seeing total contributions and their own contributions. In the Explicit (treatment) condition, a different set of subjects could also see the average contribution of others in their group, which is calculated for them. Although this should not have any effect, we observe a change in behaviour across the two conditions: participants are more likely to behave as defectors or co-operators in Implicit and more likely to behave as reciprocators in Explicit. Furthermore, we find these shifts in "type" are almost entirely the result of differences in female behavior, i.e., more women pursuing "unconditional" strategies of defection or cooperation in Implicit. We interpret our findings as evidence that women are more sensitive to cues about social norms, with important policy implications.
Keywords: Information, collective goods, gender
JEL Classification: D0, D8, H4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation