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Conditional cooperation and betrayal aversion

Cubitt, Robin; Gaechter, Simon; Quercia, Simone

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Professor of Economics & Decision Research

Professor, Psychology of Economic Decision Making

Simone Quercia


We investigate whether there is an association between conditional cooperation and betrayal aversion, two phenomena that we conjecture share common psychological characteristics despite having been studied largely separately in the previous literature. We use a public goods game to categorize subjects by type of contribution preference and we measure betrayal aversion for different categories of subject. We report three studies, using two different methods to measure betrayal aversion: a standard elicitation with monetary incentives and a novel scenario-based measure that we argue addresses concerns about the standard measure. We find strong and robust evidence of an association between conditional cooperation and betrayal aversion in the scenario-based measures but not in the standard measure.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 24, 2017
Online Publication Date Jul 1, 2017
Publication Date Sep 30, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 12, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 12, 2017
Journal Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Electronic ISSN 0167-2681
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 141
Keywords Public goods game; Conditional cooperation; Trust; Betrayal aversion; Exploitation aversion; Free riding; Experiments
Public URL
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