Do Children Cooperate Conditionally? Adapting the Strategy Method for First-Graders

50 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018

See all articles by Florian Hett

Florian Hett

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Faculty of Law and Economics

Mario Mechtel

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Henning Hermes

NHH Bergen (FAIR / Department of Economics); Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

Felix Schmidt

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Daniel Schunk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management; University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Valentin Wagner

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE)

Date Written: January 31, 2018

Abstract

We develop a public goods game (PGG) to measure cooperation and conditional cooperation in young children. Our design addresses several obstacles in adapting simultaneous and sequential PGGs to children who are not yet able to read or write, do not possess advanced abilities to calculate payoffs, and only have a very limited attention span at their disposal. It features the combination of haptic offline explanation, fully standardized audiovisual instructions, computerized choices based on touch-screens, and a suitable incentive scheme. Applying our experimental protocol to a sample of German first-graders, we find that already 6-year-olds cooperate conditionally and that the relative frequency of different cooperation types matches the findings for adult subjects. We also find that neither survey items from teachers nor from parents predict unconditional or conditional cooperation behavior; this underlines the value of incentivized experimental protocols for measuring cooperation in children.

Keywords: Conditional Cooperation, Strategy Method, Public Goods Game, Revealed Preferences, Measurement, Children, Ingroup Bias, Group Identity

JEL Classification: H41, C71, C91

Suggested Citation

Hett, Florian and Mechtel, Mario and Hermes, Henning and Schmidt, Felix and Schunk, Daniel and Wagner, Valentin, Do Children Cooperate Conditionally? Adapting the Strategy Method for First-Graders (January 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3116224 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3116224

Florian Hett (Contact Author)

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Faculty of Law and Economics ( email )

Chair of Corporate Finance
D-55099 Mainz, 55128
Germany

Mario Mechtel

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Scharnhorststra├če 1
Wilschenbrucher Weg 69
L├╝neburg, 21335
Germany
+4941316772636 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.mario-mechtel.de

Henning Hermes

NHH Bergen (FAIR / Department of Economics) ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz ( email )

Germany

Felix Schmidt

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz ( email )

Saarstrasse 21
Mainz, D-55099
Germany

Daniel Schunk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Gutenberg School of Economics and Management ( email )

Mainz
Germany

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Bluemlisalpstr. 10
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland

Valentin Wagner

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 1
Duesseldorf, NRW 40225
Germany

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