Promoting Cooperation in the Field

Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 3(0), 96-101, doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.02.006

13 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2015 Last revised: 25 Mar 2015

See all articles by Gordon T. Kraft-Todd

Gordon T. Kraft-Todd

Yale University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of Psychology

Erez Yoeli

Harvard University - Program for Evolutionary Dynamics

Syon Bhanot

Swarthmore College

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: February 18, 2015

Abstract

We review the growing literature of field experiments designed to promote cooperative behavior in policy-relevant settings outside the laboratory (e.g. conservation, charitable donations, voting). We focus on four categories of intervention that have been well studied. We find that material rewards and increased efficacy, interventions focused on altering the costs and benefits of giving, have at best mixed success. Social interventions based on observability and descriptive norms, conversely, are consistently highly effective. We then demonstrate how a theoretical framework based on reciprocity and reputation concerns explains why social interventions are typically more effective than cost-benefit interventions, and suggests ways to make cost-benefit interventions more effective. We conclude by discussing other less-studied types of intervention, and promising directions for future research.

JEL Classification: D70, D71, H41

Suggested Citation

Kraft-Todd, Gordon T. and Yoeli, Erez and Bhanot, Syon and Rand, David G., Promoting Cooperation in the Field (February 18, 2015). Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 3(0), 96-101, doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.02.006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567024

Gordon T. Kraft-Todd (Contact Author)

Yale University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Department of Psychology ( email )

P.O. Box 208205
New Haven, CT 06520-8205
United States

Erez Yoeli

Harvard University - Program for Evolutionary Dynamics ( email )

One Brattle Square, Suite 6
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://erezyoeli.com/

Syon Bhanot

Swarthmore College

500 College Ave
Kohlberg Hall 206
Swarthmore, PA 19081
United States

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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

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

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
310
Abstract Views
1,420
rank
96,029
PlumX Metrics