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Public good games are notorious for producing neither pure free riding nor pure cooperative behaviour. Rather most people prefer to cooperate – but usually only if the other players cooperate too. Real economic commitment, or the lack of it, from others affects whether a person is willing to cooperate. But what if one cannot predict the commitment of others to the public good?
In this seminar, we will step back and ask whether an alternative non-monetary institution – an archetypal solemn oath of honesty – can create real economic commitment within the public goods game. As argued by social psychologists, commitment-through-the-oath creates an environment in which people are asked to hold themselves to a higher standard of integrity. The open question is how this affects the total contributions to the public good.
Jason Shogren is the Stroock Professor of Natural Resource Conservation and Management and Chair of the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Wyoming. He works on the economics of environmental and natural resource policy, focusing on the behavioural underpinnings of choice, the integration of economics and ecology, and the design of incentives for conservation. Shogren is a Fellow of the American Applied Economics Association and the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics. He is a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and has served as a senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House.