By Gerald Marwell
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A subject could use the button any time during the segment as long as he had money to transfer. Each subject in the other half of the pairs was provided with the same button, now programmed to allow him to take money from the other when both had chosen to cooperate. Subjects received the following instructions: Each of you now has a button which you can press to take money from the other person. Each time you press the 46 III. THE FIRST EXPERIMENTS: INEQUITY AND COOPERATION button you take . It to yourself.
T h e replicability of the high rates of cooperation in the baseline segments despite intervening conditions that could disrupt cooperation suggests that preference for the higher-paying task is not affected by time. Most departures from cooperation in baseline conditions occurred early in the first baseline segment—when subjects explored the alternatives. Whatever effects boredom or other random factors had were not evident after relatively long periods of time. Inequity and Withdrawal. T o answer the question as to whether or not inequity can disrupt cooperation, the 41 INEQUITY SIZE AND WITHDRAWAL FROM COOPERATION most relevant results are from the large inequity experiment where the most severely inequitable conditions were imposed.
T h u s , it was on more than just empirical grounds that we decided to include an alternative task to cooperation in our research setting, and to provide the subjects with task choice procedures. As a research question, task choice has perhaps the longest history in the literature on cooperation. But almost always the same two alternatives have been offered—cooperation or competition. From early research on problemsolving groups to current studies using the Prisoner's SETTING CHARACTERISTICS AND PROCEDURES 25 Dilemma and other "mixed-motive" games, the alternative to cooperation has been conflict.
Cooperation. An Experimental Analysis by Gerald Marwell