Social Learning and Norms in a Public Goods Experiment with Inter-Generational Advice

69 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2004

See all articles by Ananish Chaudhuri

Ananish Chaudhuri

University of Auckland Business School

Sara Graziano

Charles River Associates, Incorporated

Pushkar Maitra

Monash University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2004

Abstract

We adopt an inter-generational approach to the public goods game where one generation of subjects leave advice for the succeeding generation via free form messages. Such advice can be private knowledge (advice left by one player in generation t is given only to her immediate successor in generation t+1), almost common knowledge (advice left by players of generation t is made available to all members of generation t+1) and common knowledge (where the advice from the preceding generation is not only made public but also read aloud by the experimenter). We find that when advice is common knowledge it generates a process of social learning and norm creation that leads to high contributions over time and also mitigates problems of free riding. Such high contributions are sustained by advice that is generally exhortative, suggesting high contributions, which in turn create optimistic beliefs, especially among conditional co-operators, about the contributions to be made by other subjects. Our results suggest that socially connected communities may be able to achieve high contributions to a public good even in the absence of any punishment opportunities of norm violators.

Keywords: Voluntary contributions mechanism, Advice, Beliefs, Conditional

JEL Classification: C92, C33, C34

Suggested Citation

Chaudhuri, Ananish and Graziano, Sara and Maitra, Pushkar, Social Learning and Norms in a Public Goods Experiment with Inter-Generational Advice (August 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=580481 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.580481

Ananish Chaudhuri (Contact Author)

University of Auckland Business School ( email )

12 Grafton Rd
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, 1010
New Zealand

Sara Graziano

Charles River Associates, Incorporated ( email )

1201 F. St. NW
Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20004
United States
617-425-3037 (Phone)

Pushkar Maitra

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3
Australia
61 3 9905 5832 (Phone)
61 3 9905 5476 (Fax)

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