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Weak moral motivation leads to the decline of voluntary contributions

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  • Charles Figuieres
  • David Masclet

    ()

  • Marc Willinger

Abstract

We develop a model that accounts for the decay of the average contribution observed in experiments on voluntary contributions to a public good. The novel idea is that people’s moral motivation is "weak". Their judgment about the right contribution depends on observed contributions by group members and on an intrinsic "moral ideal". We show that the assumption of weakly morally motivated agents lead to the decline of the average contribution over time. The model is compatible with persistence of over-contributions, variability of contributions (across and within individuals), and the “restart effect”. Furthermore, it offers a rationale for conditional cooperation. Cet article présente un modèle théorique qui permet d’expliquer le déclin des contributions observé dans les expériences de contribution volontaire au financement de biens publics répétés à horizon fini. Ce modèle s’appuie sur l’idée de motivation morale faible selon laquelle les agents auraient une motivation intrinsèque à contribuer un montant non nul au bien public et que cette motivation intrinsèque serait conditionnée à l’observation des contributions des autres membres du groupe. Ce modèle est compatible avec la persistance de la sur-contribution, la variabilité inter et intra individuelle dans les montants de contributions et l’effet de « restart ».

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2011s-09.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-09

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Keywords: Conditional cooperation; voluntary contributions; moral motivation; experiments on public goods games; coopération conditionnelle; contributions volontaires; motivation morale; expériences de biens publics;

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