Intergenerational cooperation within the household: a public good game with three generations

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We analyze cooperation of individuals in a family context, using a Public Good game. In a lab experiment, 165 individuals from 55 three-generation families (youth, parent, and grandparent) play a repeated Public Good game in three different treatments: one in which three members of the same family play each other (family), a second with the youth and two non-family members, while preserving the previous generational structure (inter-generational), and a third in which three randomly-selected players play each other (random). We find that all the age groups cooperate more when playing with relatives, indicating that family ties may have a positive relationship to contributions to the Public Good. We also find that this trend is more evident for the youths and the parents than for the grandparents. Furthermore, young individuals tend to cooperate less than older generations, especially in non-family treatments. Our results serve as evidence of the relationship between family ties and inter-generational cooperative behaviors.
Intergenerational cooperation, Public good game, Evolutionary game theory, Kinship, Social networks
Bibliographic citation
Review of Economics Household, 2019, 17, pp. 535–552