Words versus actions as a means to influence cooperation in social dilemma situations

Ganna Pogrebna, David H. Krantz, Christian Schade, Claudia Keser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We use a sequential voluntary contribution game to compare the relative impact of a first-mover's non-binding announcement versus binding commitment on cooperation. We find that a non-binding announcement and a binding commitment increase individual contributions to a similar extent. Since announced contributions systematically exceed commitments, in sessions with a non-binding announcement, second-movers tend to contribute more to the group activity than in sessions with a binding commitment. Yet, second-movers appear to be more motivated towards achieving a social optimum when the first-mover uses commitment. We also find that a non-binding announcement has a higher impact on individual propensity to cooperate than the ex post contribution of the first-mover. However, the failure to make announced contributions decreases cooperation even though the first-mover is reassigned in every period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-502
Number of pages30
JournalTheory and Decision
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


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