Skip to main content

Mill ownership and farmer's cooperative behavior: the case of Costa Rica coffee farmers


We analyze how Costa Rican coffee farmer's behavior in an experimental public good game depends on the institutional structure of the farmers buying point (cooperative vs. privately owned mills), and on the background of their game partners (partners selling to the same type of mill or not). We find that cooperative farmers do not display more public good orientation than private market farmers when playing with partners from the same type of mill. However, though farmers selling to private mills make no difference with respect to the background of partners, farmers selling to cooperatives significantly decrease contributions when paired with non-cooperative members. Finally, we study how self-selection into a mechanism that punishes the lowest contributors effects contributions both inside the group and with partners of the opposite background, and we show that it increases contributions by cooperative farmers interacting with non-cooperative farmers by more than 100%.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Banerjee A., Mookherjee D., Munshi K., and Ray D. (2001), ‘Inequality, Control Rights, and Rent Seeking: Sugar Cooperatives in Maharashtra’, Journal of Political Economy, 109: 138190.
Banuri S. and Keefer P. (2012), ‘Pro-social Behavior Where we Least Expect it? The Selection and Socialization of Intrinsically-Motivated Government (Tax!) Officials’, Working Paper.
Barmettler F., Fehr E., and Zehnder C. (2012), ‘Big Experimenter is Watching You! Anonymity and Prosocial Behavior in the Laboratory’, Games and Economic Behavior, 75: 1734.
Bernhard H., Fehr E., and Fischbacher U. (2006), ‘Group Affiliation and Altruistic Norm Enforcement’, American Economic Review, 96 (2): 217221.
Bouma J., Bulte E., and van Soest D. (2008), ‘Trust, Trustworthiness and Cooperation: Social Capital and Community Resource Management’, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 56: 155166.
Carpenter J. and Seki E. (2011), ‘Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence from Fishermen in Toyama Bay’, Economic Inquiry, 49 (2): 612630.
Carpenter J., Bowles S., Gintis H., and Sung-Ha H. (2009), ‘Strong Reciprocity and Team Production: Theory and Evidence’, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 71 (2): 221232.
Casaburi L. and Macchiavello R. (2015), ‘Loyalty, Exit and Enforcement: Evidence from a Kenya Dairy Cooperative’, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings.
Chaudhuri A. (2011), ‘Sustaining Cooperation in Laboratory Public Goods Experiments: A Selective Survey of the Literature’, Experimental Economics, 14 (1): 4783.
Conley T. and Udry C. (2010), ‘Learning About a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana’, American Economic Review, 100 (1): 3569.
Dal Bo P., Foster A., and Putterman L. (2010), ‘Institutions and Behavior: Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Democracy’, American Economic Review, 100: 22052229.
Fafchamps M. and Lund S. (2003), ‘Risk-sharing Networks in Rural Philipines’, Journal of Development Economics, 71: 261287.
Falk A., Becker A., Dohmen T., Huffman D., and Sunde U. (2015), ‘An Experimentally-Validated Survey Module of Economic Preferences’, Working Paper.
Falk A. and Kosfeld M. (2006), ‘The Hidden Costs of Control’, American Economic Review, 96 (5): 16111630.
Falkinger J., Fehr E., Gaechter S., and Winter-Ebmer R. (2000), ‘A Simple Mechanism for the E client Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence’, American Economic Review, 90 (1): 247264.
Fehr E., Fischbacher U., von Rosenbladt B., Schupp J., and Wagner G. G. (2003), ‘A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Surveys’, IZA Discussion Paper No. 715.
Fehr E. and Gaechter S. (2000), ‘Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments’, American Economic Review, 90 (4): 980994.
Fehr E. and Leibbrand A. (2011), ‘A Field Study on Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons’, Journal of Public Economics, 95 (9): 11441155.
Gelcich S., Guzman R. A., Rodriguez-Sickert C., Cardenas J. C., and Castilla J. (2012), ‘External Validity in Common Pool Resource Economic Experiments: Lessons from Co-managed Artisanal Benthic Fisheries in Chile’, Working Paper.
Goette L., Huffman D., and Meier S. (2006), ‘The Impact of Group Membership on Cooperation and Norm Enforcement: Evidence using Random Assignment to Real Social Groups’, American Economic Review, 96 (2): 212216.
Grosse S., Putterman L., and Rockenbach B. (2011), ‘Monitoring in Teams: Using Laboratory Experiments to Study a Theory of the Firm’, Journal of the European Economic Association, 9 (4): 785816.
Henrich J., Heine S. J., and Norenzayan A. (2010), ‘The Weirdest People in the World?’, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33: 61135.
Houser D., Xiao E., McCabe K., and Smith V. (2008), ‘When Punishment Fails: Research on Sanctions, Intentions and Non-Cooperation’, Games and Economic Behavior, 62 (2): 509532
Kamei K., Putterman L., and Tyran J. R. (2015), ‘State or Nature? Endogenous Formal Versus Informal Sanctions in the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods’, Experimental Economics, 18: 3865.
Karlan D. (2005), ‘Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions’, American Economic Review, 95 (5): 16881699.
Karlan D., Mobius M., Rosenblat T., and Szeidl A. (2009), ‘Trust and Social Collateral’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124: 13071361.
Karlan D., Osei R., Osei-Akoto I., and Udry C. (2014), ‘Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129: 597652.
Kessler J. and Leider S. (2013), ‘Finding the Cost of Control’, Working Paper.
Kocher M., Martinsson P., Persson E., and Wang X. S. (2016), ‘Is There a Hidden Cost of Imposing a Minimum Contribution Level for Public Good Contributions?’, Journal of Economic Psychology, 56: 7484.
Kranton R., Pease M., Sanders S., and Huettel S. (2016), ‘Group Bias, Identity, and Social Preferences’, Working Paper.
Ledyard O. (1995), ‘Public Goods: Some Experimental Results’, in Kagel J. and Roth A. (eds.), Handbook of Experimental Economics, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Markussen T., Putterman L., and Tyran J. R. (2014), ‘Self-organization for Collective Action: An Experimental Study of Voting on Sanction Regimes’, Review of Economic Studies, 81: 301324.
Martinsson P. and Persson E. (2016), ‘Public Goods and Minimum Provision Levels: Does the Institutional Formation Affect Cooperation?’, Working Papers in Economics: 655, University of Gothenburg.
Martinsson P., Medhin H., and Persson E. (2016), ‘Framing and Minimum Levels in Public Good Provision’, Working Papers in Economics: 656, University of Gothenburg.
Mellizo P., Carpenter J., and Matthews P. H. (2014), ‘Workplace Democracy in the Lab’, Industrial Relations Journal, 45: 313328.
Mittone L. and Ploner M. (2015), ‘Cooperative Attitudes Among Workers of Social Cooperatives: Evidence from an Artefactual Field Experiment’, International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 26: 510530.
Paige J. (1997), Coffee and Power, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Putterman L., Tyran J. R., and Kamei K. (2011), ‘Public Goods and Voting on Formal Sanction Schemes’, Journal of Public Economics, 95: 12131222.
Rustagi D., Engel S., and Kosfeld M. (2010), ‘Conditional Cooperation and Costly Monitoring Explain Success in Forest Commons Management’, Science, 330: 961965.
Schnedler W. and Vadovic R. (2011), ‘Legitimacy of Control’, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 20 (4): 9851009.
Simmons R. and Birchall J. (2008), ‘The Role of Co-operatives in Poverty Reduction: Network Perspectives’, The Journal of Socio-Economics, 37: 21312140.
Sukhtankar S. (2012), ‘Sweetening the Deal? Political Connections and Sugar Mills in India’, AEJ: Applied Economics, 4 (3): 4363.
Sukhtankar S. (2015), ‘Does Firm Ownership Structure Matter? Evidence from Sugar Mills in India’, Working Paper.
Tajfel H. and Turner J. C. (1979), ‘An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict’, in Austin W. G. and Worchel S. (eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations, Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole, pp. 3447.
Voors M., Turley T., Kontoleon A., Bulte E., and List J. (2011), ‘Using Artefactual Field Experiments to Learn About the Incentives for Sustainable Forest Use in Developing Economies’, American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings, 101: 329333.
Voors M., Turley T., Kontoleon A., Bulte E., and List J. (2012), ‘Exploring Whether Behavior in Context-Free Experiments is Predictive of Behavior in the Field: Evidence from Lab and Field Experiments in Rural Sierra Leone’, Economics Letters, 114: 308311.
Ziegelmeyer A., Schmelz K., and Ploner M. (2012), ‘Hidden Costs of Control: Four Repetitions and An Explenation’, Experimental Economics, 15: 323340.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Institutional Economics
  • ISSN: 1744-1374
  • EISSN: 1744-1382
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-institutional-economics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Hopfensitz and Miquel-Florensa supplementary material
Hopfensitz and Miquel-Florensa supplementary material

 Word (452 KB)
452 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 65 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 247 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 18th January 2017 - 17th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.