Cooperation is a universal phenomenon, it is present in all human cultures from hunter–gatherers to industrialised societies, and it constitutes a fundamental aspect of social relationships. There is, however, variability in the amount of resources people invest in cooperative activities. Recent findings indicate that this variability may be partly explained as a contextually appropriate response to environmental conditions. Specifically, adverse environments seem to be associated with less cooperation and recent findings suggest that this effect is partly mediated by differences in individuals’ life-history strategy. In this paper, we set out to replicate and extend these findings by measuring actual cooperative behaviour in three economic games – a Dictator game, a Trust game and a Public Goods game – on a nationally representative sample of 612 people. Although we found that the cooperation and life-history strategy latent variables were adequately captured by the models, the hypothesised relationship between childhood environmental adversity and adult cooperation and the mediation effect by life-history strategy were not found.