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Free-Riding and the Provision of Public Goods in the Family: A Laboratory Experiment

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  • H. Elizabeth Peters
  • A. Sinan Unur
  • Jeremy Clark
  • William D. Schulze

Abstract

We examine the provision of family public goods using experimental economics methods. With sufficient altruism and shared resource arrangements, families can provide the efficient level of family public goods. Becker's Rotten Kid Theorem asserts that transfers from altruistic parents will induce children to maximize family income even if children are not altruistic toward other family members. Consistent with altruism, parents and children contributed more to a public good when in groups with family members than when in groups with strangers. In contrast to the predictions of the Rotten Kid Theorem, however, children's behavior fell short of maximizing family income. Copyright 2004 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 283-299

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:45:y:2004:i:1:p:283-299

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Cited by:
  1. Vegard Iversen et al, 2009. "Does one size fit all? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 09-04, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  2. Iversen, Vegard & Jackson, Cecile & Kebede, Bereket & Munro, Alistair & Verschoor, Arjan, 2011. "Do Spouses Realise Cooperative Gains? Experimental Evidence from Rural Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 569-578, April.
  3. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2013. "Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 100-111.
  4. Jeremy Clark, 2002. "House Money Effects in Public Good Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-231, December.
  5. Carlsson, Fredrik & Martinsson, Peter & Qin, Ping & Sutter, Matthias, 2009. "Household decision making and the influence of spouses’ income, education, and communist party membership: A field experiment in rural China," Working Papers in Economics 356, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  6. Gulyás, Attila, 2011. "Diktátor a barátom? A barátság és a méltányosság kapcsolata
    [Is my friend a dictator? The relation between friendship and impartiality]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 430-444.
  7. Cochard, François & Couprie, Hélène & Hopfensitz, Astrid, 2009. "Do Spouses Cooperate? And If Not: Why?," TSE Working Papers 09-134, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  8. Ehmke, Mariah D. & Schroeter, Christiane & Morgan, Kari & Larson-Meyer, Enette & Ballenger, Nicole, 2012. "Relating Behavioral Elements of Household Food Negotiation to Childhood Overweight and Obesity," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 123516, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  9. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2010. "Responsibility for what? Fairness and individual responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 429-441, April.
  10. Munro, Alistair & Verschoor, Arjan & Dubey, Amaresh, 2013. "Does working with spouses make teams more productive? A field experiment in India using NREGA," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 506-508.
  11. Jordi Brandts & Carles Solà, 2006. "Personal Relations and their Effect on Behavior in an Organizational Setting: An Experimental Study," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 692.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  12. Giacomo Pasini & Rob Alessie & Viola Angelini, 2011. "Is it true love? Altruism versus exchange in time and money transfers," Working Papers 2011_27, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  13. Vollan, Björn, 2011. "The difference between kinship and friendship: (Field-) experimental evidence on trust and punishment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 14-25, February.
  14. Fredrik Carlsson & Peter Martinsson & Ping Qin & Matthias Sutter, 2013. "The influence of spouses on household decision making under risk: an experiment in rural China," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 383-401, September.
  15. Nava Ashraf, 2009. "Spousal Control and Intra-household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1245-77, September.

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