Date of Award

Summer 7-28-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. James C. Cox

Second Advisor

Dr. Vjollca Sadiraj

Third Advisor

Dr. Kurt E. Schnier

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ragan Petrie

Abstract

The first chapter reports experiments with payoff-equivalent public good and common pool games. Behavior of high-caste and low-caste Indian villagers is compared with behavior of American students in terms of economic surplus foregone or destroyed by failure of cooperation in the public good and common pool games. When information about caste is withheld no significant difference is observed in the efficiency of play between villagers and student subjects at American universities for both the public good game and the payoff-equivalent common pool game. Providing caste information leads to: (i) the lowest level of efficiency when low-caste first movers interact with a low-caste second mover, and (ii) the highest levels of efficiency when high-caste first movers engage with a high-caste second mover. Cross-caste play generates intermediate levels of efficiency. In my second chapter I examine competition and cooperation across genders and castes in India and compare the data with incentivized laboratory experiments across genders and races in the US. High-caste males (India) and White males (U.S.) choose to compete the most and are universally cooperative. In India females compete more and cooperate less when they are paired with other females but not with males. The level of cooperation among the females of either race (US) is lower than that of the White males but is insignificantly different from the level of cooperation among the African American males. In my third chapter I conducted artifactual field experiments in rural India with variations of dictator and ultimatum games. Eight treatments are played: in four we provide information that the other player is the spouse and in the remaining four variations spouse information is not provided. When subjects are unaware of playing with their spouses, they choose to keep the dictator role for themselves or not empower the other player. Male spouses make higher offers in general relative to female spouses. The divisions in these games (no spouse information) are far less equitable than in dictator games with student subjects. We find more concern for procedural fairness when subjects know they are playing with their spouses than when they do not have this information.

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