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Nudge for (the Public) Good: How Defaults Can Affect Cooperation.

Fosgaard TR, Piovesan M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: In this paper we test the effect of non-binding defaults on the level of contribution to a public good.Our results show that the vast majority of our subjects did not adopt the default numbers, but their stated strategy was affected by the default.Here we found that subjects who previously saw the free rider default were significantly less cooperative than those who saw the perfect conditional cooperator default.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.

ABSTRACT
In this paper we test the effect of non-binding defaults on the level of contribution to a public good. We manipulate the default numbers appearing on the decision screen to nudge subjects toward a free-rider strategy or a perfect conditional cooperator strategy. Our results show that the vast majority of our subjects did not adopt the default numbers, but their stated strategy was affected by the default. Moreover, we find that our manipulation spilled over to a subsequent repeated public goods game where default was not manipulated. Here we found that subjects who previously saw the free rider default were significantly less cooperative than those who saw the perfect conditional cooperator default.

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Difference in conditional cooperation answers in the two treatments.
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pone.0145488.g002: Difference in conditional cooperation answers in the two treatments.

Mentions: Even if the default does not nudge subjects into accepting the provided default, we do find that subjects’ answers in part 1 are affected by the manipulation. Instead of simply accepting the default answer, subjects deleted it and provided an alternative answer, which was influenced by the default. To illustrate this effect, Fig 2 shows the difference between the average responses in each cell (a certain degree of behavior from other group members) in the conditional table. Fig 2, panel A, shows the average in the PCC treatment minus the average in the ND treatment, whereas panel B shows the average responses in FR treatment minus ND treatment. As is evident from the graph, the average answers in the FR treatment are consistently below those in the ND treatment. That is, the default in FR seems to affect negatively the conditional contributions stated. Whereas, the effect of the default in PCC is asymmetric: for conditional cooperation below 10 the default in PCC decreases contribution compared to ND; for conditional cooperation above 10 the default in PCC increases contribution compared to ND. The PCC defaults are in other words making subjects more conditional in their response to the behavior of other group members.


Nudge for (the Public) Good: How Defaults Can Affect Cooperation.

Fosgaard TR, Piovesan M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Difference in conditional cooperation answers in the two treatments.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4696855&req=5

pone.0145488.g002: Difference in conditional cooperation answers in the two treatments.
Mentions: Even if the default does not nudge subjects into accepting the provided default, we do find that subjects’ answers in part 1 are affected by the manipulation. Instead of simply accepting the default answer, subjects deleted it and provided an alternative answer, which was influenced by the default. To illustrate this effect, Fig 2 shows the difference between the average responses in each cell (a certain degree of behavior from other group members) in the conditional table. Fig 2, panel A, shows the average in the PCC treatment minus the average in the ND treatment, whereas panel B shows the average responses in FR treatment minus ND treatment. As is evident from the graph, the average answers in the FR treatment are consistently below those in the ND treatment. That is, the default in FR seems to affect negatively the conditional contributions stated. Whereas, the effect of the default in PCC is asymmetric: for conditional cooperation below 10 the default in PCC decreases contribution compared to ND; for conditional cooperation above 10 the default in PCC increases contribution compared to ND. The PCC defaults are in other words making subjects more conditional in their response to the behavior of other group members.

Bottom Line: In this paper we test the effect of non-binding defaults on the level of contribution to a public good.Our results show that the vast majority of our subjects did not adopt the default numbers, but their stated strategy was affected by the default.Here we found that subjects who previously saw the free rider default were significantly less cooperative than those who saw the perfect conditional cooperator default.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.

ABSTRACT
In this paper we test the effect of non-binding defaults on the level of contribution to a public good. We manipulate the default numbers appearing on the decision screen to nudge subjects toward a free-rider strategy or a perfect conditional cooperator strategy. Our results show that the vast majority of our subjects did not adopt the default numbers, but their stated strategy was affected by the default. Moreover, we find that our manipulation spilled over to a subsequent repeated public goods game where default was not manipulated. Here we found that subjects who previously saw the free rider default were significantly less cooperative than those who saw the perfect conditional cooperator default.

Show MeSH