Research on What Makes People Cooperate

Publication date 
May 19, 2015

When faced with a crisis like the California water shortage, how does the government get the public to conserve their water usage?

A new study co-authored by David Rand, ISPS Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Psychology and Economics at Yale (with Gordon Kraft-Todd, Erez Yoeli, and Syon Bhanot) that looks at how best to influence and promote social cooperation was recently published in Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. In the article, “Promoting Cooperation in the Field,” the authors synthesized the results of almost one hundred research studies that attempted to increase cooperative behavior and found that social interventions not cost-benefit interventions yield the most positive cooperative behavior.

The authors followed up with an op-ed in the New York Times on May 15, How To Get People to Pitch In, and also broke down the research in a five-minute video here.