Welcome to STRANGERS

Strangers is a European research project conducted at the University of Bologna, aiming at the study of cooperation among strangers through experimental methodologies. The European Commission funded the project through a Starting Grant by the ERC (European Research Council) for the period 2010-2014. The project is carried out by a team of researchers presided by professor Marco Casari, at the Department of Economics of the University of Bologna.

Florin - Florence 1332-1348.

Paper money, XI Century, Song Dynasty, Cina.

The Southern Question - XIX Century map of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Why study cooperation among strangers?

Interactions among individuals in communities and markets can be mutually profitable. However, if one of the actors behaves opportunistically the other sides of the interaction will be damaged and at disadvantage. Cooperation is established when all the actors in the game behave in a way that makes a fully advantageous interaction possible: economists use models to predict when the individuals can be expected to cooperate or not. The acronym of this project is "Strangers" because it focuses on the economic interaction among people who don't know each other, who meet casually and don't know each other's history and origins.

Scientific Relevance

In modern societies, the most part of economic interactions takes place among strangers. Cooperation among people who are acquainted with each other is relatively easy to obtain, while the same can't be said of cooperation among strangers. We aim to understand what kind of formal and informal institutions facilitates mutually advantageous transactions among strangers.

Experimental Economy

In an experimental economy study, randomly recruited participants are asked to take decisions in a laboratory, where the system variables can be kept under control (the system can be a market, a bidding etc.) . The participants are exposed to real economic incentives, since they are paid in cash immediately after the conclusion of the experiment, according to their behavior during the decision process. Participants are volunteer and they usually interact with each other. We aim to gather empirical evidence in order to evaluate the predictions of the economic theory, to measure preferences or test a political economy program. We never lie to the participants and we guarantee the absolute confidentiality of the collected data.

STRANGERS was made possibile thanks to the financial support of a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, 2010-2014, FP7-IDEAS, grant no. 241196.