Cooperation in small groups: the effect of group size

Nosenzo, Daniele and Quercia, Simone and Sefton, Martin (2015) Cooperation in small groups: the effect of group size. Experimental Economics, 18 (1). pp. 4-14. ISSN 1573-6938

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Abstract

We study the effect of group size on cooperation in voluntary contribution mechanism games. As in previous experiments, we study four- and eight-person groups in high and low marginal per capita return (MPCR) conditions. We find a positive effect of group size in the low MPCR condition, as in previous experiments. However, in the high MPCR condition we observe a negative group size effect. We extend the design to investigate two- and three-person groups in the high MPCR condition, and find that cooperation is highest of all in two-person groups. The findings in the high MPCR condition are consistent with those from n-person prisoner’s dilemma and oligopoly experiments that suggest it is more difficult to sustain cooperation in larger groups. The findings from the low MPCR condition suggest that this effect can be overridden. In particular, when cooperation is low other factors, such as considerations of the social benefits of contributing (which increase with group size), may dominate any negative group size effect.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Voluntary contribution mechanism, Cooperation, Group size
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Identification Number: 10.1007/s10683-013-9382-8
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2017 14:55
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2017 18:34
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/45897

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