We show that monetary exchange facilitates the transition from small to large-scale economic interactions. In an experiment, subjects chose to play an “intertemporal cooperation game” either in partnerships or in groups of strangers where payoffs could be higher. Theoretically, a norm of mutual support is sufficient to maximize efficiency through large-scale cooperation. Empirically, absent a monetary system, participants were reluctant to interact on a large scale; and when they did, efficiency plummeted compared to partnerships because cooperation collapsed. This failure was reversed only when a stable monetary system endogenously emerged: the institution of money mitigated strategic uncertainty problems.

Partners or Strangers? Cooperation, monetary trade, and the choice of scale of interaction

Bigoni Maria;Camera Gabriele;Casari Marco
2019

Abstract

We show that monetary exchange facilitates the transition from small to large-scale economic interactions. In an experiment, subjects chose to play an “intertemporal cooperation game” either in partnerships or in groups of strangers where payoffs could be higher. Theoretically, a norm of mutual support is sufficient to maximize efficiency through large-scale cooperation. Empirically, absent a monetary system, participants were reluctant to interact on a large scale; and when they did, efficiency plummeted compared to partnerships because cooperation collapsed. This failure was reversed only when a stable monetary system endogenously emerged: the institution of money mitigated strategic uncertainty problems.
Bigoni Maria; Camera Gabriele; Casari Marco
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/656258
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