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Does Contributing Sequentially Increase the Level of Cooperation in Public Goods Games ? An Experimental Investigation

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  • David Masclet
  • Marc Willinger

Abstract

We run a series of experiments in which subjects have to choose their level of contribution to a pure public good. Our design differs from the standard public good game with respect to the decision procedure. Instead of deciding simultaneously in each round, subjects are randomly ordered in a sequence which differs from round to round. We compare sessions in which subjects can observe the exact contributions from earlier decisions ("Sequential treatment with Information") to sessions in which subjects decide sequentially but cannot observe earlier contributions ("Sequential treatment without information"). Furthermore, we investigate the effect of group size on aggregate contributions. Our result indicate that contributing sequentially increases the level of contribution to the public good when subjects are informed about the contribution levels of lower ranked subjects. Moreover, we observe that earlier players in the sequence try to influence positively the contributions of subsequent decision makers in the sequence, by making a large contribution. Such behaviour is motivated by the belief that subsequent players will reciprocate by also making a large contribution.

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File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2006-04.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 06-04.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision: Jan 2006
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:06-04

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  1. Moxnes, E. & Heijden, E.C.M. van der, 2000. "The Effect of Leadership in a Public Bad Experiment," Discussion Paper 2000-102, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
  3. John List & David Lucking-Reiley, 2002. "The effects of seed money and refunds on charitable giving: Experimental evidence from a university capital campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00301, The Field Experiments Website.
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  7. Camerer, Colin F. & Knez, Marc & Weber, Roberto A., 1996. "Timing and Virtual Observability in Ultimatum Bargaining and Weak Link Coordination Games," Working Papers 970, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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  10. Amershi, A.H. & Sadanand, A.B. & Sadanand, V., 1989. "Manipulated Nash Equilibria - I: Forward Induction And Thought Process Dynamics In Extensive Form," Working Papers 1989-4, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  11. Keser, Claudia, 1996. "Voluntary contributions to a public good when partial contribution is a dominant strategy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 359-366, March.
  12. Andereoni, J., 1988. "Why Free Ride? Strategies And Learning In Public Goods Experiments," Working papers 375, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
  14. Amershi, A.H. & Sadanand, A.B. & Sadanand, V., 1989. "Manipulated Nash Equilibria - I: Forward Induction And Thought Process Dynamics In Extensive Form," Working Papers 1989-4, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  15. R. Muller & Asha Sadanand, 2003. "Order of Play, Forward Induction, and Presentation Effects in Two-Person Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 5-25, June.
  16. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
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