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Altruism and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods

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Author Info

  • Leanne Ma

    (Department of Economics, University of Melbourne)

  • Katerina Sherstyuk

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Malcom Dowling

    (Department of Economics, University of Melbourne)

  • Oliver Hill

    (Department of Psychology, Virginia State University)

Abstract

We study how people's predisposition towards altruism, as measured by tools developed by psychologists, affects their behavior in a voluntary contributions public good experiment. Earlier experiments provide evidence against the strong free rider hypothesis; however, contributions to the public good decrease with repetition. We investigate whether a high level of contributions can be sustained in groups of subjects who have been pre-selected on the basis of their altruistic inclinations. In the first stage of the experiment, each subject responds to a psychology questionnaire that measures various dimensions of one's personality. The subjects are then matched in groups according to their altruism scores, and engage in a voluntary contribution game. We consider whether the levels and dynamics of group contributions differ significantly between the groups with altruists and non-altruists. We find that subjects' altruism has a weak but positive effect on group behavior in the public good game.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/012.pdf
File Function: First version, 2000
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200013.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200013

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  1. 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.
  2. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-46, December.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bohm, Peter, 1972. "Estimating demand for public goods: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 111-130.
  5. repec:att:wimass:9309 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-45, July.
  7. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Verhoogen, Eric, 2003. "Playing both roles in the trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-216, June.
  8. Dowling, M. & Hall, O. & Ma, L. & Sherstyuk, K., 2000. "Altruism and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 760, The University of Melbourne.
  9. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2002:i:31:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Leanne Ma & Katerina Sherstyuk & Malcom Dowling & Oliver Hill, 2000. "Altruism and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Working Papers 200013, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  3. Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Brañas Garza, Pablo, 2010. "Unraveling Public Good Games: The Role of Priors," DFAEII Working Papers 2010-04, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  4. Swope, Kurtis J. & Cadigan, John & Schmitt, Pamela M. & Shupp, Robert, 2008. "Personality preferences in laboratory economics experiments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 998-1009, June.
  5. Isabelle Vialle & Luis Santos-Pinto & Jean-Louis Rullière, 2011. "Self-Confidence and Teamwork : An Experimental Test," Working Papers 1126, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  6. James Tully, 2005. "Communication Networks, Hegemony, and Communicative Action," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0015, University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages.
  7. Alexis Belianin & Marco Novarese, 2005. "Trust, communication and equlibrium behaviour in public goods," Experimental 0506001, EconWPA.

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