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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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Does Framing Matter for Conditional Cooperation? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

Stephan Meier1

1Harvard University,

Citation Information: Contributions in Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 5, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1538-0645, DOI: 10.2202/1538-0645.1475, December 2005

Publication History

Published Online:
2005-12-31

Abstract

Framing a decision situation differently has affected behavior substantially in previous studies. This paper tests a framing effect in a field experiment at the University of Zurich. Each semester, every student has to decide whether to contribute to two social funds. Students were randomly informed that a high percentage of the student population contributed (or, equivalently, that a low percentage did not contribute), while others received the information that a relatively low percentage contributed (or a high percentage did not contribute).The results show the influence of framing effects is limited. People behave in a conditional cooperative way if informed either about the number of contributors or about the equivalent number of non-contributors. The positive correlation between group behavior and individual behavior is, however, weaker when the focus is on the defectors. The field experiment also shows gender differences in social comparison.

Keywords: Field Experiment; Charitable Giving; Social Comparison; Framing; Gender

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