Voluntary Play Increases Cooperation in the Presence of Punishment: A Lab in the Field Experiment

26 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2021

See all articles by Francesca Pancotto

Francesca Pancotto

Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE); Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE)

Simone Righi

Ca Foscari University of Venice, Department of Economics, Students; Department of Computer Science; University College London - Financial Computing and Analytics Group, Department of Computer Science

Károly Takács

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Centre for Social Sciences

Date Written: April 23, 2020

Abstract

Problems of cooperation have often been simplified as the choice between defection and cooperation, although in many empirical situations it is also possible to walk away from the interaction. When opting out of is a feasible alternative, it is questionable whether known solutions to the problem of cooperation, such as punishment could still work, given the limited sanctioning potential it imposes on free riders. We present the results of two experiments with non-student subjects who play optional and compulsory public goods games both with and without a punishment stage. We find that the possibility of opting-out motivates cooperation. Instead, when punishment is introduced, higher cooperation emerges in the compulsory game. This key result indicates that informal solutions to public good problems might rule each other out and punishment is a robust solution only if players are not allowed to opt out of the interaction.

Keywords: public goods game, exit, punishment

Suggested Citation

Pancotto, Francesca and Righi, Simone and Righi, Simone and Takács, Károly, Voluntary Play Increases Cooperation in the Presence of Punishment: A Lab in the Field Experiment (April 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3908319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3908319

Francesca Pancotto (Contact Author)

Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) ( email )

Largo Santa Eufemia
Modena, Modena 42121
Italy

Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) ( email )

Largo Santa Eufemia
Modena, Modena 42121
Italy

Simone Righi

Ca Foscari University of Venice, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Venice
Italy

Department of Computer Science ( email )

66-72 Gower Street
London, London WC1E 6EA
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/simone-righi/

University College London - Financial Computing and Analytics Group, Department of Computer Science ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Károly Takács

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Centre for Social Sciences ( email )

Országház u. 30
Budapest, H-1014
Hungary

HOME PAGE: http://web.uni-corvinus.hu/~tkaroly

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