Experimental Economics

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 178–196 | Cite as

Centrality and cooperation in networks

  • Boris van Leeuwen
  • Abhijit RamalingamEmail author
  • David Rojo Arjona
  • Arthur Schram
Original Paper


We investigate the effects of centrality on cooperation in groups. Players with centrality keep a group together by having a pivotal position in a network. In some of our experimental treatments, players can vote to exclude others and prevent them from further participation in the group. We find that, in the presence of exclusion, central players contribute significantly less than others, and that this is tolerated by those others. Because of this tolerance, groups with centrality manage to maintain high levels of cooperation.


Cooperation Centrality Public goods Networks 

JEL Classification

C91 D02 D03 H41 



For useful comments and suggestions, the authors would like to thank the editor of this journal (Lata Gangadharan) and two anonymous referees, as well as Jordi Brandts, Antonio Cabrales, Jeff Carpenter, Ron Harstad, Eline van der Heijden, Andreas Leibbrandt, Jeroen van de Ven and participants at seminars at University of Massachusetts, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, University of Pennsylvania (SAS), University of East Anglia, ESI Chapman University, University of Málaga, University of Alicante, Jadavpur University, MPI Bonn, Indiana University and Utah State University, and participants at the workshop on Power, Games, and Fairness (Turku 2013), the 2013 ESA North American meetings in Tucson, the 2013 Southern Economic Association meeting, the 2014 Incentives and Behavior Change Workshop at the University of Amsterdam, the 2014 CCC-meeting at the University of Nottingham, the 2015 IMEBESS conference at the IAST, the 2016 BiNoMa Networks Meeting in Norwich and the 2016 Networks Workshop at Queen Mary London. Part of this paper was written while Arthur Schram was visiting the Institute of Economic Analysis (CSIC-IAE) in Barcelona. He thanks the IAE for their hospitality. Financial support from the Research Priority Area Behavioral Economics of the University of Amsterdam, the University of East Anglia, Chapman University and the ANR - Labex IAST is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

10683_2018_9592_MOESM1_ESM.docx (291 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 291 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and CentERTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Walker College of BusinessAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  3. 3.Argyros School of Business and EconomicsChapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Economics, EUI (Florence) and CREEDUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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