To Cooperate or Not? Evidence from A Framed Field Experiment in Remote Villages of North Kalimantan
The ability to cooperate in collective action problems is one reason for championing community-based approaches to development. However, several studies have found that people decide their cooperative behavior based on what others do - people cooperate when others cooperate. This idea suggests that informal norms of cooperation are fundamental in coordinating collective action. Yet the problem of community-based approaches to development is that while they require voluntary cooperation, in reality cooperation is not voluntary but actively stimulated by the government. We study this by conducting a framed field experiment in communities with differing exposures to the state, framing the experiment in terms of a government housing project, an example of collective action that is currently being demanded from village households at the community scale. The experiment involved 212 adult participants from remote rural villages in North Kalimantan, and yield some interesting findings on how external influences might change norms and behaviour in a case of collective action.