Nudge for (the public) good: how defaults can affect cooperation

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0145488
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume10
Issue number12
Number of pages11
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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