Unité mixte de recherche 7235

Depletion of Willpower and Contribution in a Public Good Game

Intervenant : Aurélie Bonein (Centre de Recherche en Economie et Management CREM)

Co-écrit avec Laurent Denant-Boèmont

We investigate how ego depletion might impact cooperation levels for individuals. To this end, we propose a theoretical model in which an individual contributes to a public good in a VCM (Voluntary Contribution Mechanism) game after having been exposed to ego depletion. This model first aims at specifying the main parameters of the depletion function at the individual level and, second, to provide a theoretical relationship between individual characteristics of the depletion function and the contribution level. We use this model to build an economic experiment where participants enter a VCM game after having been exposed to ego depletion. Our experimental treatments vary in the degree of ego depletion to isolate the effect of this latter on contribution. First experimental results highlights the impact of self control in the level of contribution in a one-shot public good game. In particular, we observe a strong and negative relationship between ego-depletion and the level of cooperation while the initial level of willpower fails to explain the level of contribution.


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