Rich Communication, Social Motivations, and Coordinated Resistance against Divide-and-Conquer: A Laboratory Investigation

Published on Mar 1, 2015in European Journal of Political Economy
· DOI :10.1016/J.EJPOLECO.2014.10.005
Timothy N. Cason36
Estimated H-index: 36
(Purdue University),
Vai-Lam Mui13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Monash University)
This paper presents a laboratory experiment to investigate how social motivations and free-form communication (Rich Communication) can facilitate coordinated resistance against divide-and-conquer transgressions. In our experiment, a leader first decides whether to extract surplus from a victim and shares it with a beneficiary. We find that the successful joint resistance rate increases almost four-fold (from 15 to 58%) when moving from more restrictive communication treatments to Rich Communication. We also find that the significant impacts of Rich Communication are driven more by the responders' ability to send free-form messages rather than the multiple and iterative opportunities to indicate intentions.
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