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Near-efficient equilibria in contribution-based competitive grouping

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  • Gunnthorsdottir, Anna
  • Vragov, Roumen
  • Seifert, Stefan
  • McCabe, Kevin

Abstract

We examine theoretically and experimentally how competitive contribution-based group formation affects incentives to free-ride. We introduce a new formal model of social production, called a "Group-based Meritocracy Mechanism" (GBM), which extends the single-group-level analysis of a Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (VCM) to multiple groups. In a GBM individuals are ranked according to their group contributions. Based on this ranking, participants are then partitioned into equal-sized groups. Members of each group share their collective output equally amongst themselves according to a VCM payoff function. The GBM has two pure-strategy Nash equilibria. One is non-contribution by all; this equilibrium thus coincides with the VCM's equilibrium. The second equilibrium is close to Pareto optimal. It is asymmetric and quite complex from the viewpoint of experimental subjects, yet subjects tacitly coordinate this equilibrium reliably and precisely. Extensions of the basic GBM model to incorporate various features of naturally occurring group formation are suggested in the conclusion.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 11-12 (December)
Pages: 987-994

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:11-12:p:987-994

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Endogenous group formation Free-riding Social dilemma Tacit coordination Mechanism design Non-cooperative game theory Equilibrium selection Experiment;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Markussen & Ernesto Reuben & Jean‐Robert Tyran, 2014. "Competition, Cooperation and Collective Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages F163-F195, 02.
  2. Susana Cabrera & Enrique Fatás & Juan Lacomba & Tibor Neugebauer, 2013. "Splitting leagues: promotion and demotion in contribution-based regrouping experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 426-441, September.
  3. Charness, Gary & Yang, Chun-Lei, 2014. "Starting small toward voluntary formation of efficient large groups in public goods provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 119-132.
  4. Alexander W. Cappelen & Ulrik H. Nielsen & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2012. "Give and Take in Dictator Games," Discussion Papers 12-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

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