Research Archive

Competition, cooperation, and collective choice

Thomas Markussen, Ernesto Reuben, Jean-Robert Tyran

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Business Economics and Public Policy, Strategy


The ability of groups to implement efficiency-enhancing institutions is emerging as a central theme of research in economics. This paper explores voting on a scheme of intergroup competition, which facilitates cooperation in a social dilemma situation. Experimental results show that the competitive scheme fosters cooperation. Competition is popular, but the electoral outcome depends strongly on specific voting rules of institutional choice. If the majority decides, competition is almost always adopted. If likely losers from competition have veto power, it is often not, and substantial gains in efficiency are foregone.


Markussen, Thomas, Ernesto Reuben, and Jean-Robert Tyran. "Competition, cooperation, and collective choice." The Economic Journal 124, no. 574 (February 2014): F163-F195.

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