Direct and Indirect Reciprocity in Public Goods Games

  • Author / Creator
    Zentner, Emilie
  • Cooperation and coordination are challenging to achieve in public goods games. As a result, public goods are often chronically under-provisioned due to free-riding. However, reciprocity has been increasingly associated with cooperative behaviour and may play an important role in driving individual contributions in public goods games. While reciprocity is often discussed as a two party interaction (direct reciprocity), reciprocity can also occur in interactions between three parties (indirect reciprocity), and capture effects of recent experiences (indirect upstream reciprocity) and reputation (indirect downstream reciprocity) on individual contributions. In this thesis, our objective is to examine the role of both direct and indirect reciprocity preferences in voluntary contributions in public goods games. Understanding the relevance of these preferences will have implications for many social dilemma situations impacting society. Using a psychological game theoretic approach, we apply and extend the utility framework introduced by Dufwenberg and Kirchsteiger 2004 to incorporate direct and indirect reciprocity preferences in a public goods setting. We identify several theoretical predictions which show the existence of cooperative equilibria. Furthermore, we identify several conditions under which the inclusion of direct and indirect reciprocity preferences can lead to more cooperative outcomes. This research furthers our understanding of the role of reciprocity preferences on individual contributions in public goods games and highlights the importance of both direct and indirect reciprocity in supporting cooperative behaviour.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.