Banking on the Future: Promoting and Sustaining Cooperation in Public Goods Games

A challenge to international treaties — such as the Paris agreement — is that even if pledges are made and agreed upon, countries may not fulfill their promises. This is further complicated by decision makers (governments) regularly changing. To address these issues, we propose an institution that aims to promote cooperation in public goods games (PGG) and maintain it over time. In an experiment, before playing a multi-round PGG, participants contribute part of their endowment to a future fund. At the end of the game, we manipulate whether participants automatically recoup their future fund contribution or receive it conditionally upon a group vote. We (aim to) further test whether this institution can sustain cooperation in an environment where the decision makers in the PGG change, and are replaced by new decision makers.