Sex Matters: The Impact of Information on Cooperation

23 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2007 Last revised: 28 Aug 2016

See all articles by David Zetland

David Zetland

Leiden University - Leiden University College

Marina Della Giusta

University of Reading - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 21, 2016

Abstract

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

Zetland, David and Della Giusta, Marina, Sex Matters: The Impact of Information on Cooperation (June 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1122144 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1122144

David Zetland (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Leiden University College ( email )

P.O. Box 13228
Den Haag, 2501EE
Netherlands

Marina Della Giusta

University of Reading - Department of Economics ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, RG6 6AH
United Kingdom
+44 (0)118 378 5068 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: hhttp://www.reading.ac.uk/hedgehogs/about/staff/m-DellaGiusta.aspx

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