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Does monitoring past conduct facilitate intertemporal cooperation? We designed an experiment characterized by strategic uncertainty and multiple equilibria where coordinating on the efficient outcome is a challenge. Participants, interacting anonymously in a group, could pay a cost either to obtain information about their counterparts, or to create a freely available public record of individual conduct. Both monitoring institutions were actively employed. However, groups were unable to attain higher levels of cooperation compared to a treatment without monitoring. Information about past conduct alone thus appears to be ineffective in overcoming coordination challenges.


Working Paper 17-12



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