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Group Size and Incentives to Contribute: A Natural Experiment at Chinese Wikipedia

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  • Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang
  • Feng Zhu
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    Abstract

    The literature on the private provision of public goods suggests an inverse relationship between incentives to contribute and group size. We find, however, that after an exogenous reduction of group size at Chinese Wikipedia, the nonblocked contributors decrease their contributions by 42.8 percent on average. We attribute the cause to social effects: contributors receive social benefits that increase with both the amount of their contributions and group size, and the shrinking group size weakens these social benefits. Consistent with our explanation, we find that the more contributors value social benefits, the more they reduce their contributions after the block. (JEL H41, L17, L82)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (June)
    Pages: 1601-15

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:4:p:1601-15

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    1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
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    3. Riber, D.C. & Wilhelm, M.O., 1996. "Altruistic and Joy-of-Giving Motivations in Charitable Behavior," Papers 1-96-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
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    13. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Kevin CROWSTON & Nicolas JULLIEN & Felipe ORTEGA, 2013. "Is Wikipedia Inefficient? Modelling Effort and Participation in Wikipedia," Post-Print hal-00947731, HAL.
    2. Samak, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Visibility of Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," MPRA Paper 46779, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nicolas JULLIEN, 2012. "What We Know About Wikipedia: A Review of the Literature Analyzing the Project(s)," Post-Print hal-00857208, HAL.
    4. Samek, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Recognizing Contributors: An Experiment on Public Goods," MPRA Paper 52921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Alexia Gaudeul & Caterina Giannetti, 2011. "The role of reciprocation in social network formation, with an application to blogging," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-015, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
    6. Wang, Chengsi & Zudenkova, Galina, 2014. "A Rationale for Non-Monotonic Group-Size Effect in Repeated Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 14-03, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    7. Avi Goldfarb & Teck-Hua Ho & Wilfred Amaldoss & Alexander Brown & Yan Chen & Tony Cui & Alberto Galasso & Tanjim Hossain & Ming Hsu & Noah Lim & Mo Xiao & Botao Yang, 2012. "Behavioral models of managerial decision-making," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 405-421, June.
    8. Boris van Leeuwen & Theo Offerman & Arthur Schram, 2013. "Superstars Need Social Benefits: An Experiment on Network Formation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-112/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Jennifer Abel-Koch, 2013. "Endogenous Trade Policy with Heterogeneous Firms," Working Papers 1306, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 01 Aug 2013.

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