Social Influence and Collective Action: An Experiment Investigating the Effects of Visibility and Social Information Moderated by Personality

35 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2011 Last revised: 26 Feb 2013

See all articles by Helen Zerlina Margetts

Helen Zerlina Margetts

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Peter John

Department of Political Economy, KCL; University College London - School of Public Policy

Stephane Reissfelder

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine

Scott A. Hale

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Date Written: November 25, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: social information, social pressure, collective action, laboratory experiment

Suggested Citation

Margetts, Helen Zerlina and John, Peter and Reissfelder, Stephane and Hale, Scott A., Social Influence and Collective Action: An Experiment Investigating the Effects of Visibility and Social Information Moderated by Personality (November 25, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1892805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1892805

Helen Zerlina Margetts

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford ( email )

1 St Giles
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk

Peter John (Contact Author)

Department of Political Economy, KCL ( email )

Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University College London - School of Public Policy ( email )

29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom

Stephane Reissfelder

University of Oxford - Nuffield College of Medicine ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

Scott A. Hale

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.scotthale.net/

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