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A Prize to Give for: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms

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  • Luca Corazzini

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Marco Faravelli

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Luca Stanca

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

Abstract

This paper investigates fund-raising mechanisms based on a prize as a way to overcome free riding in the private provision of public goods, under the assumptions of income heterogeneity and incomplete information about income levels. We compare experimentally the performance of a lottery, an all-pay auction and a benchmark voluntary contribution mechanism. We find that prize-based mechanisms perform better than voluntary contribution in terms of public good provision after accounting for the cost of the prize. Comparing the prize-based mechanisms, total contributions are significantly higher in the lottery than in the all-pay auction. Focusing on individual income types, the lottery outperforms voluntary contributions and the all-pay auction throughout the income distribution.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper108.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 108.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision: 2007
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:108

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Keywords: Auctions; Lotteries; Public Goods; Laboratory Experiments;

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  1. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
  2. Marco Faravelli, 2007. "The Important Thing Is not (Always) Winning but Taking Part: Funding Public Goods with Contests," ESE Discussion Papers 156, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. Henrik Orzen, 2005. "Fundraising through Competition: Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Papers 2005-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, 05.
  5. Jacob K. Goeree & Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal & John L. Turner, 2005. "How (Not) to Raise Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 897-926, August.
  6. 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.
  7. Morgan, John & Sefton, Martin, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810, October.
  8. Kenneth S. Chan & Stuart Mestelman & R. Andrew Muller, 1998. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 1998-02, McMaster University.
  9. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-66, April.
  10. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Milyo, Jeffrey, 2008. "Inequality and public good provision: An experimental analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1010-1028, June.
  11. Morgan, John, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 761-84, October.
  12. Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 2008. "Spiteful Behavior in Voluntary Contribution Mechanism Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
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