Seminar CRENoS - Dipartimento Economia - Luca Zarri

28/05/2012 - 14:30 to 16:30


Aula 5 Facoltà di Economia

Viale S.Ignazio 78, Cagliari 


Presentation of the paper

Cultural Diversity, Cooperation and Antisocial Punishment



Luca Zarri

(Università di Verona)






Marco Faillo (Department of Economics, University of Trento), Daniela Grieco (Department of Economics, Bocconi University and University of Verona) and Luca Zarri (Department of Economics, University of Verona)


Is culture an important variable to explain whether groups can successfully provide public goods? A wealth of  empirical evidence on both industrialized and developing countries shows that  cooperation levels decrease in the presence of ethnic divisions. Although several laboratory works deal with cultural differences,  so far  most studies restrict their attention to cross-cultural  comparisons among  internally  homogeneous societies.  We  depart from these  contributions and conduct an intercultural public goods game with punishment experiment in Italy, a country where  immigration is a quite recent, but politically hot phenomenon.  We investigate the effects of  introducing a varying number of foreign participants within a homogeneous pool of native subjects. Our results indicate that  foreigners contribute  significantly less than natives, natives react  lowering their own contribution levels, and, consequently, the degree of cultural diversity negatively affects the overall level of cooperation. In terms of sanctioning, we observe no difference  in the overall amount of  assigned and received  punishment points; however, behaving mostly as free-riders, foreigners are more likely to use anti-social punishment. In the absence of institutional restrictions ruling out anti-social punishment, this might amplify the documented detrimental effect on cooperation.



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