Experimental Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 500–512 | Cite as

Detecting motives for cooperation in public goods experiments

  • Takafumi Yamakawa
  • Yoshitaka Okano
  • Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Original Paper


This study clarifies the types of motives that are important as a source of cooperation in a linear public goods experiment. Our experimental design separates contributions into those due to confusion, one-shot motives (which includes altruism, warm-glow, inequality aversion, and conditional cooperation), and multi-round motives (which includes a strategic motive under incomplete information, a failure of backward induction, and reciprocity). The experiment reveals that multi-round motives plays an important role in driving cooperative behavior. Confusion and one-shot motives play a minor role.


Cooperation Motives Public goods 

JEL Classification

C72 C92 H41 



We are grateful to Takao Kusakawa, Kan Takeuchi, Guillaume Fréchette, and the participants at the 13th Experimental Social Sciences Conference at Kobe University, the seminar at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the 2011 meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Science Association at University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Experimental Social Sciences Workshop at Osaka University, the 11th Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory Conference, and the 14th International Conference on Social Dilemmas for their helpful comments and discussions. The present version of this paper has benefited from the comments of the editor and two referees. This research was supported by KAKENHI (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan) on Priority Areas “Experimental Social Science.” The authors are responsible for any remaining errors that may occur.

Supplementary material

10683_2015_9451_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (232 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 232 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takafumi Yamakawa
    • 1
  • Yoshitaka Okano
    • 2
  • Tatsuyoshi Saijo
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Social and Economic ResearchOsaka UniversityIbarakiJapan
  2. 2.School of Economics and ManagementKochi University of TechnologyKochiJapan
  3. 3.Research Center for Social Design EngineeringKochi University of TechnologyKochiJapan
  4. 4.Center for Environmental Innovation Design for SustainabilityOsaka UniversitySuitaJapan
  5. 5.Institute of Economic ResearchHitotsubashi UniversityKunitachiJapan

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