Partial coercion, conditional cooperation, and self-commitment in voluntary contributions to public goods

In this paper we experimentally investigate whether partial coercion can in combination with conditional cooperation increase contributions to a public good. We are especially interested in the behavior of the non-coerced populations. The main finding is that in our setting conditional cooperation is not a strong enough force to increase contribution levels.Although, non-coerced subjects rationally adjust their beliefs about contribution behavior of coerced subjects they do not increase their own contributions to the public good accordingly.This points to the limits of the actual strength of conditional cooperation and puts some doubt on the idea that it is crucial in overcoming social dilemma problems.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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