Rice Farming and the Origins of Cooperative Behavior

66 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2021 Last revised: 3 Jan 2022

See all articles by Xiaoyu Zhou

Xiaoyu Zhou

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Theodore Alysandratos

Heidelberg University

Michael Naef

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics; University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 29, 2021

Abstract

This paper provides novel evidence for links between historic farming practices and current norms of cooperation. We hypothesize that the cooperation required in wetland rice farming gives rise to strong cultural norms of cooperativeness. We compare participants from prefecture cities that predominately practice wetland rice cultivation, to those from non-rice regions. A public goods game with and without punishment is the main measure for cooperativeness. Results indicate a strong and robust positive effect of wetland rice farming on cooperation and pro-social punishment. Complementary, consistent evidence from a natural field experiment and a survey further enriches our data.

Keywords: Culture, Public Goods, Rice, Punishment

JEL Classification: C99, H41, N55, Z19

Suggested Citation

Zhou, Xiaoyu and Alysandratos, Theodore and Naef, Michael, Rice Farming and the Origins of Cooperative Behavior (December 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3788317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3788317

Xiaoyu Zhou

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Fachbereich Rechtswissenschaft
Schillerstr. 1
Erlangen, DE 91054
Germany

Theodore Alysandratos (Contact Author)

Heidelberg University ( email )

Bergheimer Str. 58
Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg 69115
Germany

Michael Naef

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics ( email )

Royal Holloway College
Egham
Surrey, Surrey TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

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