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2012-04-01 | Peer Reviewed

Social Background, Cooperative Behavior, and Norm Enforcement

Kocher, Martin, Peter Martinsson and Martine Visser. 2012. “Social Background, Cooperative Behavior, and Norm Enforcement.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 81:2: 341-355.
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Studies have shown that there are differences in cooperative behavior across countries. Furthermore, differences in the use and the reaction on the introduction of a norm enforcement mechanism have been documented in cross-cultural studies, recently. We present data which prove that stark differences in both dimensions can exist even within the same town. For this end, a unique data set was created, based on public goods experiments conducted in Cape Town, South Africa. Most of the differences in behavior can, however, be explained by variables accounting for social capital and social environment, such as trust or household violence.