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Disposition, history and contributions in public goods experiments

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  • Gunnthorsdottir, Anna
  • Houser, Daniel
  • McCabe, Kevin

Abstract

Private incentives to invest in a public good are modeled as self- interested reciprocity where individuals use reputational scoring rules to determine their optimal level of investment. The model predicts that the disposition of any subject to cooperate is revealed by their first period investment in a voluntary contribution experiment, and that grouping cooperative subjects together will improve, and in some circumstances sustain, their private investment in the public good. Actual investment behavior is then studied with laboratory experiments that compare the contributions of subjects randomly reassigned into groups to contributions under a mechanism that sorts subjects into groups based on their individual investment decisions. The sorting mechanism helps to keep subjects with cooperative dispositions together and leads to statistically significant increases, relative to the random matching condition, in cooperators’ investments in the public good.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 62 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 304-315

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:62:y:2007:i:2:p:304-315

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  1. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  2. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
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  14. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
  15. Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Keser, Claudia, 1999. "Mobility and cooperation: on the run," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-69, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  16. Coase, R H, 1974. "The Lighthouse in Economics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 357-76, October.
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