Cooperation in local and global groups

Gerlinde Fellner-Röhling, Gabriele Lünser

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Multiple group memberships are the rule rather than the exception. Within a linear public good game, we experimentally investigate two possible factors that impact the decision to cooperate in a smaller, local or a larger, global group: diverging marginal per capita returns, resulting in different social returns, and social feedback information. If social returns are equal across groups, subjects prefer to contribute to the local group that offers social information on individual contributions. An increase of the social return in the global group initially attracts more contributions, but this tendency quickly unravels in favor of cooperation in the local group. Cooperation in the global public good can only be sustained if contributions of global group members can be observed. We thus identify social feedback information as a key factor for institutional design to foster cooperation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364 - 373
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 101017 Game theory
  • 502047 Economic theory
  • 501021 Social psychology

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