Determinants of Social Cooperation: A Survey Experiment

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Gabor HAJDU, Institute for Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
Julia KOLTAI, Institute for Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
Luca KRISTOF, Institute for Sociology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
Bori SIMONOVITS, TÁRKI Social Research Institute, Hungary
Cooperation with others is clearly an important aspect of social integration. However, people’s willingness to cooperate differs according to their socio-demographic characteristics. Moreover, the characteristics of a person one is potentially to cooperate with also affects the level of cooperation: people may show less willingness to help a person belonging to a different social group.

The aim of our research is to examine the determinants of cooperation, using a survey experiment method. As part of our survey questionnaire each of our respondents (n=479) were made to evaluate 15 hypothetical situations (known as “vignettes”), where a stranger asks for help ranging from small favours (i.e. a short phone call) to bigger requests (e.g. giving juridical testimony), and were asked about their willingness to help in these situations. Exploiting the intra-respondent variation of situations (gender, age, occupation, ethnicity and the residence of the stranger asking for help, as well as the hypothetical situation itself), our experimental research design allows us to run multilevel regression models and to examine causality between these characteristics and the respondent’s willingness to cooperate. Moreover, since the survey database contains the detailed characteristics of the respondent, we also analyse the effect of status differences between the respondents and the stranger of the vignette (i.e. the stranger asking for help). Using this research design and data, our results provide evidence about the determinants of cooperation and establish a wider sense of the mechanisms of social integration and disintegration in a way that ordinary survey designs are not able to do in themselves.