Social Context and the Dynamics of Cooperative Choice

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/bdm.1837

15 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2014 Last revised: 22 Aug 2014

See all articles by David G. Rand

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

George Newman

Yale School of Management

Owen Wurzbacher

Harvard College

Date Written: August 6, 2014

Abstract

Recent work using decontextualized economic games suggests that cooperation is a dynamic decision-making process: automatic responses typically support cooperation on average, while deliberation leads to increased selfishness. Here we performed two studies examining how these temporal effects generalize to games with richer social context cues. Study 1 found that time pressure increased cooperation to a similar extent in games played with in-group members and out-group members. Study 2 found that time pressure increased cooperation to a similar extent in games described as competitions and games described as collaborations. These results show that previous positive effects of time pressure on cooperation are not unique to neutrally framed games devoid of social context, and are not driven by implicit assumptions of shared group membership or cooperative norms. In doing so, our findings provide further insight into the cognitive underpinnings of cooperative decision-making.

Keywords: cooperation, dual process, framing, time pressure, public goods, prisoner's dilemma, competition, intergroup

JEL Classification: C70, C79, C90, C91, C92, D64, D70, D71, H41

Suggested Citation

Rand, David G. and Newman, George and Wurzbacher, Owen, Social Context and the Dynamics of Cooperative Choice (August 6, 2014). Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/bdm.1837. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2476990

David G. Rand (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

George Newman

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Owen Wurzbacher

Harvard College ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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