Riccardo Faini CEIS Seminars

Cooperation Among Strangers With and Without a Monetary System
May, 31st 2019 (12:00-13:30)
Room B - 1st floor

Marco Casari (Università di Bologna)

Riccardo Faini CEIS Seminars

with M.Bigoni and G.Camera

What makes money essential for the functioning of modern society? Through an experiment, we present evidence for the existence of a relevant behavioral dimension in addition to the standard theoretical arguments. Subjects faced repeated opportunities to help an anonymous counterpart who changed over time. Cooperation required trusting that help given to a stranger today would be returned by a stranger in the future. Cooperation levels declined when going from small to large groups of strangers, even if monitoring and payoffs from cooperation were invariant to group size. We then introduced intrinsically worthless tokens. Tokens endogenously became money: subjects took to reward help with a token and to demand a token in exchange for help. Subjects trusted that strangers would return help for a token. Cooperation levels remained stable as the groups grew larger.