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An experimental analysis of income contribution and distribution in Public Goods Game

Grant number: 14/15457-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 28, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal researcher:Antonio Celso de Noronha Goyos
Grantee:André Luíz Ferreira
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Corruption has been established as a major social, economic and political problem. However, its constitution as behavioral problem has been neglected. Being a behavioral problem, there are numerous possibilities for behavior analysis study the phenomenon and propose solutions and interventions toward becoming less frequent occurrence of corrupt behavior. As a social phenomenon, corruption can be analyzed by a vast literature produced by Behavior Analysis, not only with respect to conceptual studies, but mainly with data from the lab. Game theory has been a great ally of behavior analysis in the laboratory study of social phenomena. The Public Goods Game can be used to study cooperative and collaborative behaviors among players and their protocol opens up numerous possibilities for studying various social phenomena, among them corruption. The objective is to use the Public Goods Game to analyze which variables are involved in the control of behavior characterized as corrupt, from the choices made by players during the trials. The Public Goods works with an investment fund where players deposit amounts of tokens or money into a common fund, which returns profits for all players, even those who have not invested any amount. The game will be divided into four phases, where a real player will play with five other virtual players, in search of the accumulation of the most tokens possible. In the first phase, the experimenter will apply the original protocol of the game, to model the behavior of the player in responding to Public Goods. In the second phase, the experimenter will manipulate the access that Real Player has regarding the amount of tokens as the other players have. In the third phase, the experimenter will insert a social fund, which will only have the function of collecting donations, non-profit making divisions. In the fourth phase, the experimenter will give the administrator role of both funds in the real player, and he will be responsible for dividing income from both funds. There will be used a between-subjects design. There will be 30 subjects, 24 university students-six Asperger, of both sexes. So wait see which contingencies were involved in the decision making of the players, especially regarding the division of the profits generated by the funds. Games such as employee in this research are important because they allow: to analyze the contingencies involved in decision making of persons; characterize the choices as cooperative and non-cooperative and make interpretations with empirical reasoning about the observed phenomena, generalizing the results against real situations.

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