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Recent behavioral experiments aimed at understanding the evolutionary foundations of human cooperation have suggested that a willingness to engage in costly punishment, even in one-shot situations, may be part of human psychology and a key element in understanding our sociality. However, because most experiments have been confined to students in(More)
Large-scale societies in which strangers regularly engage in mutually beneficial transactions are puzzling. The evolutionary mechanisms associated with kinship and reciprocity, which underpin much of primate sociality, do not readily extend to large unrelated groups. Theory suggests that the evolution of such societies may have required norms and(More)
Using data from a field experiment conducted in seventy Colombian municipalities, we investigate who pools risk with whom when risk pooling arrangements are not formally enforced. We explore the roles played by risk attitudes and network connections both theoretically and empirically. We find that pairs of participants who share a bond of friendship or(More)
The lowest level of government in sub-Saharan Africa is often a cadre of chiefs who raise taxes, control the judicial system and allocate the most important scarce resource—land. Chiefs, empowered by colonial indirect rule, are often accused of using their power despotically and inhibiting rural development. Yet others view them as traditional(More)
The Motivation Crowding Effect suggests that external intervention via monetary incentives or punishments may undermine, and under different identifiable conditions strengthen, intrinsic motivation. As of today, the theoretical possibility of motivation crowding has been the main subject of discussion among economists. This study demonstrates that the(More)
We model the dynamic effects of external enforcement on the exploitation of a common pool resource. Fitting our model to the results of experimental data we find that institutions influence social preferences. We solve two puzzles in the data: the increase and later erosion of cooperation when commoners vote against the imposition of a fine, and the high(More)
A large, but inconclusive, literature addresses how economic heterogeneity affects the use of local resources and local environmental quality. One line of thought, which derives from Nash equilibrium provision of public goods, suggests that in contexts in which individual actions degrade local environmental quality, wealthier people in a community will tend(More)
We use the colonial organization of chieftaincy in Sierra Leone to study the effect of constraints on chiefs' power on economic outcomes, citizens' attitudes and social capital. A paramount chief must come from one of the ruling families originally recognized by British colonial authorities. Chiefs face fewer constraints and less political competition in(More)