Does the cultural background influence the success with which genetically unrelated individuals cooperate in social dilemma situations? In this paper, we provide an answer by analysing the data of Herrmann et al., who studied cooperation and punishment in 16 subject pools from six different world cultures. We use analysis of variance to disentangle the importance of cultural background relative to individual heterogeneity and group level differences in cooperation. We find that culture has a substantial influence on the extent of cooperation, in addition to individual heterogeneity and group-level differences identified by previous research. The significance of this result is that cultural background has a substantial influence on cooperation in otherwise identical environments. This is particularly true in the presence of punishment opportunities.
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