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Exogenous Targeting Instruments under Differing Information Conditions

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  • John Spraggon

    ()
    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

This paper tests the ability of an exogenous targeting instrument to induce compliance when the principal cannot observe the actions of individual agents. A number of papers show that although these instruments are able to induce groups to the target outcome, they are not able to induce individuals to make socially optimal decisions in a number of different controlled laboratory experiments. This study investigates whether the information individuals have about others’ payoffs affects how they make their decisions in this environment. Ledyard (1995) suggests that when subjects have less information in public goods experiments they are more likely to choose the Nash equilibrium decision. However, as he points out, this effect differs between groups with homogeneous and heterogeneous payoff functions. The results show that reducing information reduces efficiency although there are no significant effects on the absolute level of group decisions at the aggregate level. At the individual level, reducing the information players have complicates the environment resulting in subjects choosing either lower decision numbers or more randomly. Moreover, these effects seem to be more serious for subjects whose Nash decisions are on the boundary of the decision space.

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File URL: http://courses.umass.edu/resec/workingpapers/documents/ResEcWorkingPaper2007-10.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007-10.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dre:wpaper:2007-10

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Related research

Keywords: Moral Hazard in Groups; Exogenous Targeting Instruments; Experiments; Information;

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  1. Rose, Steven K. & Clark, Jeremy & Poe, Gregory L. & Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D., 1999. "The Private Provision of Public Goods: Tests of a Provision Point Mechanism for Funding Green Power Programs," Working Papers 127699, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  2. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Laury, Susan K., 2002. "Private costs and public benefits: unraveling the effects of altruism and noisy behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 255-276, February.
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  7. Xepapadeas, A. P., 1995. "Observability and choice of instrument mix in the control of externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 485-498, March.
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  9. John Spraggon, 1998. "Exogenous Targeting Instruments as a Solution to Group Moral Hazards," Department of Economics Working Papers 1998-01, McMaster University.
  10. J. Spraggon, 2004. "Individual Decision Making in a Negative Externality Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 249-269, October.
  11. Malik, Arun S., 1990. "Markets for pollution control when firms are noncompliant," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 97-106, March.
  12. Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1998. "Public good provision and public bad prevention: The effect of framing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 143-161, January.
  13. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1991. "Optimal Contracts for Teams," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 561-77, August.
  14. Marks, Melanie B & Croson, Rachel T A, 1999. " The Effect of Incomplete Information in a Threshold Public Goods Experiment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 103-18, April.
  15. Christian A. Vossler & Gregory L. Poe & William D. Schulze & Kathleen Segerson, 2006. "Communication and Incentive Mechanisms Based on Group Performance: An Experimental Study of Nonpoint Pollution Control," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(4), pages 599-613, October.
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