Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 535–552 | Cite as

Intergenerational cooperation within the household: a Public Good game with three generations

  • José Alberto MolinaEmail author
  • Alfredo Ferrer
  • J. Ignacio Giménez-Nadal
  • Carlos Gracia-Lázaro
  • Yamir Moreno
  • Angel Sánchez


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 

JEL Codes

D03 D64 D70 



We are grateful to the IBERCIVIS Foundation for organizing volunteer recruitment. This paper has benefited from funding by the Spanish Ministry of Economics (Project ECO2012-34828), the EU FET Proactive Project Dolfins (Grant 640772) and FET Open Project IBSEN (Grant 662725). This paper was partially designed while Jose Alberto Molina was Visiting Fellow at the Department of Economics of Boston College (US), to which he would like to express his thanks for the hospitality and facilities provided.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary Information


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament of Economic AnalysisUniversity of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.Institute for the Study of Labor-IZABonnGermany
  3. 3.Instituto de Biocomputación y Física de Sistemas ComplejosUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  4. 4.Unidad Mixta Interdisciplinar de Comportamiento y Complejidad SocialUC3M-UV-UZMadridSpain
  5. 5.Institute for Scientific InterchangeISI FoundationTurinItaly
  6. 6.Departamento de Matemáticas, Grupo Interdisciplinar de Sistemas Complejos (GISC)Universidad Carlos III de MadridLeganésSpain
  7. 7.Institute UC3M-BS for Financial Big DataUniversidad Carlos III de MadridGetafeSpain

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