Trust and communication in a property rights dilemma

Article


Ahn, T., Loukas, B., Batsaikhan, M., Campos-Ortiz, F., Putterman, L. and Sutter, M. 2018. Trust and communication in a property rights dilemma. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. 149, pp. 413-433. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2018.01.009
TypeArticle
TitleTrust and communication in a property rights dilemma
AuthorsAhn, T., Loukas, B., Batsaikhan, M., Campos-Ortiz, F., Putterman, L. and Sutter, M.
Abstract

We study in five diverse countries a laboratory social dilemma game in which incentives to steal from others lead to the socially inefficient diversion of resources from production unless the members of a given mini-society can abide by norms of non-theft or engage in low cost collective protection of their members’ wealth accumulations. We compare two treatments in which subjects have opportunities to exchange free-form messages to one without such opportunities, finding that most subjects allocate far less to theft and most groups achieve much greater efficiency in the presence of communication. Ease of identifying who has engaged in theft varies across the two communication treatments, but is of minor importance to the outcome. We find several coding-amenable elements of message content to be statistically significant predictors of group and individual outcomes. Contributing to the literature on culture, norms, and preferences, we find that the degree to which communication fosters cooperation varies among countries in a manner correlated with variation in survey based trust and with desistance from theft at the outset of our communication-free experiment treatment.

KeywordsProperty rights; Theft; Efficiency; Experiment; Communication
Sustainable Development Goals16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
PublisherElsevier
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
ISSN0167-2681
Electronic1879-1751
Publication dates
Online16 Jan 2018
Print31 May 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted11 Jan 2018
Deposited25 Jan 2024
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2018.01.009
Web of Science identifierWOS:000438480800022
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