Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 123–133 | Cite as

Is cooperation instinctive? Evidence from the response times in a public goods game



We use data on response times from a public goods experiment to test the hypothesis that cooperation is instinctive, under the assumption that the longer the time of the decision, the less instinctive the choice. Results seem to support the hypothesis that cooperation is instinctive, while defection is ‘rational’. Moreover, as the experiment is designed also to assess the effects of the consumption of relational goods on cooperation, we are also able to state that some types of relational goods, like team working, produce additional cooperation, but make it less spontaneous. We also detect that females seem to behave less instinctively than males.


Response times Cooperation Public goods experiments Gender effect 

JEL Classification

C91 D03 H41 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Policy and Public ChoiceUniversity of Eastern PiedmontAlessandriaItaly

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