Cooperation in Social Dilemmas: The Necessity of Seeing Self-Control Conflict

60 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2010 Last revised: 17 Nov 2012

See all articles by Peter Martinsson

Peter Martinsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics and Statistics

Kristian Ove R. Myrseth

University of York

Conny E. Wollbrant

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law

Date Written: November 16, 2012

Abstract

Individuals in a social dilemma may experience a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and their better judgment to cooperate. Pairing a public goods game with a subtle framing technique, we test whether perception of self-control conflict strengthens the association between self-control and cooperation. Consistent with our hypothesis, cooperative behavior is positively associated with self-control for individuals in the treatment that raised the relative likelihood of perceiving conflict, but not associated with self-control in the treatment that lowered the likelihood. These results help advance our understanding of the role of self-control in social interaction.

Keywords: Self-Control, Pro-Social Behavior, Public Good Experiment, Conditional Cooperation

JEL Classification: D01, D03, D64, D70

Suggested Citation

Martinsson, Peter and Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. and Wollbrant, Conny E., Cooperation in Social Dilemmas: The Necessity of Seeing Self-Control Conflict (November 16, 2012). ESMT Working Paper No. 10-004 (R1), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1650060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1650060

Peter Martinsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Box 640
Vasagatan 1, E-building, floor 5 & 6
Göteborg, 40530
Sweden

Kristian Ove R. Myrseth (Contact Author)

University of York ( email )

Sally Baldwin Buildings
Heslington
York, North Yorkshire YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Conny E. Wollbrant

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Goteborg, 40530
Sweden

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