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Pledges of Commitment and Cooperation in Partnerships

Department of Economics, University of Zurich, Schönberggasse 1, Zurich CH 8001, Switzerland
School of Economics, University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ananish Chaudhuri
Games 2016, 7(1), 4;
Received: 26 October 2015 / Revised: 1 January 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2016 / Published: 20 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Experimental Studies of Social Dilemma Games)
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We use experimental methods to investigate whether pledges of commitment can improve cooperation in endogenously-formed partnerships facing a social dilemma. Treatments vary in terms of the individual’s: (1) opportunity to commit to their partner; (2) the cost of dissolving committed partnerships; and (3) the distribution of these dissolution costs between partners. Our findings show that pledges of commitment alone can increase cooperation and welfare in committed partnerships. The introduction of relatively large and equally split costs yields similar gains. In contrast, when costs to dissolve committed partnerships fall solely on the individual choosing to break up, pledges of commitment fail to improve cooperation and welfare. View Full-Text
Keywords: commitment; cooperation; endogenous group formation; experiment commitment; cooperation; endogenous group formation; experiment

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Deer, L.; Bayer, R.-C. Pledges of Commitment and Cooperation in Partnerships. Games 2016, 7, 4.

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