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The Value of Non-Binding Announcements in Public Goods Experiments: Some Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Michael Berlemann
  • Marcus Dittrich
  • Gunther Markwardt

Abstract

In this paper we present three simple theoretical models to explain the influence of the possibility to make non-binding announcements on investment behaviour in public goods settings. Our models build on the idea that voluntary contributions to the supply of a public good might be motivated by some form of joy of giving. We show that the possibility to make non-binding announcements has a positive effect on cooperative behaviour, especially if individual announcements and factual investments are communicated to the players after each round. We also show that this result holds true even though the players have an incentive to overstate their true degrees of cooperativeness. Altogether, our theoretical considerations point in the direction that revealing as much information on individual intentions and factual behaviour as possible enhances cooperative behaviour. These conclusions are broadly confirmed by the results of a series of classroom experiments we present.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1352.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1352

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Keywords: public goods; announcements; joy of giving; experimental economics;

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References

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  1. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
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  4. Brosig, Jeannette, 2002. "Identifying cooperative behavior: some experimental results in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 275-290, March.
  5. John O. Ledyard, 1994. "Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research," Public Economics 9405003, EconWPA, revised 22 May 1994.
  6. Berlemann, Michael, 2003. "The effect of signalling and beliefs on the voluntary provision of public goods," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 10/03, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  7. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "The Effect of Communication Media on Cooperation," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 217-241, 05.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  9. Kenneth S. Chan & Rob Godby & Stuart Mestelman & R. Andrew Muller, 1998. "Crowding Out Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Department of Economics Working Papers 1998-03, McMaster University.
  10. 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.
  11. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  13. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  14. McCloskey, Donald N, 1985. "The Loss Function Has Been Mislaid: The Rhetoric of Significance Tests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 201-05, May.
  15. Isaac, R. Mark & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., . "Public Goods Provision in an Experimental Environment," Working Papers 428, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  16. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
  17. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Engel & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2013. "Words Substitute Fists – Justifying Punishment in a Public Good Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_16, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2014.
  2. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Papa Stefano, 2011. "Trust, reciprocity and altruism: An impossible addition," wp.comunite 0082, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.

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