Rice Farming and the Origins of Cooperative Behaviour

Zhou X, Alysandratos T, Naef M (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2023


DOI: 10.1093/ej/uead030


This paper provides novel evidence for links between historic farming practices and current norms of cooperative behaviour. We hypothesise that the cooperation required in wetland rice farming gives rise to strong cultural norms of cooperativeness. We compare participants from prefecture cities that predominately practice wetland rice cultivation to those from non-rice regions. A public goods game with and without punishment is the main measure for cooperative behaviour. Results indicate a strong and robust positive effect of wetland rice farming on cooperative behaviour and pro-social punishment. Complementary, consistent evidence from a natural field experiment and a survey further enriches our data.

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How to cite


Zhou, X., Alysandratos, T., & Naef, M. (2023). Rice Farming and the Origins of Cooperative Behaviour. The Economic Journal. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ej/uead030


Zhou, Xiaoyu, Theodore Alysandratos, and Michael Naef. "Rice Farming and the Origins of Cooperative Behaviour." The Economic Journal (2023).

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