Authority and Centrality: Power and Cooperation in Social Dilemma Networks

37 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2015

See all articles by Boris van Leeuwen

Boris van Leeuwen

Tilburg University - Department of Economics

Abhijit Ramalingam

Appalachian State University

David Rojo Arjona

University of Leicester - Department of Economics

Arthur J. H. C. Schram

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB); Tinbergen Institute

Date Written: March 3, 2015

Abstract

We investigate the effects of power on cooperation in repeated social dilemma settings. Groups of five players play either multi-player trust games or VCM-games on a fixed network. Power stems from having the authority to allocate funds raised through voluntary contributions by all members and/or from having a pivotal position in the network (centrality). We compare environments with and without ostracism by allowing players in some treatments to exclude others from further participation in the network. Our results show that power matters but that its effects hinge strongly on the type involved. Reminiscent of the literature on leadership, players with authority often act more cooperatively than those without such power. Nevertheless, when possible, they are quickly ostracized from the group. Thus, this kind of power is not tolerated by the powerless. In stark contrast, centrality leads to less cooperative behavior and this free riding is not punished; conditional on cooperativeness, players with power from centrality are less likely to be ostracized than those without. Hence, not only is this type of power tolerated, but so is the free riding it leads to.

Keywords: power, cooperation, networks, public goods

JEL Classification: C91, D02, D03, H41

Suggested Citation

van Leeuwen, Boris and Ramalingam, Abhijit and Rojo Arjona, David and Schram, Arthur J. H. C., Authority and Centrality: Power and Cooperation in Social Dilemma Networks (March 3, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2573348 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2573348

Boris Van Leeuwen (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Abhijit Ramalingam

Appalachian State University ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/abhijitramalingam/

David Rojo Arjona

University of Leicester - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Leicester LE1 7RH, Leicestershire LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Arthur J. H. C. Schram

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
CREED
Amsterdam 1018 WB
Netherlands
+31 (0)20 525 4293 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fee.uva.nl/creed/PEOPLE/Arthurs.htm

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

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