Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment
AbstractWe investigate to what extent contribution decisions to a public good depend on the contributions of others. We employ a novel experimental technique that allows us to elicit people's willingness to be conditionally cooperative, i.e., to contribute more to the public good the more the other beneficiaries contribute. We find that about a third of subjects' contribution schedules is characterized by complete free-riding. However, a majority of 50 percent of the subjects displays conditional cooperation. Our results can explain why in most repeated public goods experiments subjects initially cooperate while towards the final periods cooperation declines to very low levels.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 016.
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voluntary contributions; conditional cooperation; free riding; strategy-method; experiments;
Other versions of this item:
- Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2000-05-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2000-05-08 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-IND-2000-05-08 (Industrial Organization)
- NEP-PBE-2000-05-08 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2000-05-08 (Public Finance)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 1998. "A theoretical analysis of altruism and decision error in public goods games," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 297-323, November.
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American Economic Review, American Economic Association,
American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
- Claudia Keser & Frans A.A.M. van Winden, 2000.
"Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods,"
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers
00-011/1, Tinbergen Institute.
- Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
- Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
- Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
- Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1999. "Strategic behavior in public good games: when partners drift apart," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 35-41, January.
- Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-46, December.
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