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Group Size and Incentives to Contribute: A Natural Experiment at Chinese Wikipedia

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  • Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang
  • Feng Zhu

Abstract

The literature on the private provision of public goods suggests an inverse relationship between incentives to contribute and group size. We find, however, that after an exogenous reduction of group size at Chinese Wikipedia, the nonblocked contributors decrease their contributions by 42.8 percent on average. We attribute the cause to social effects: contributors receive social benefits that increase with both the amount of their contributions and group size, and the shrinking group size weakens these social benefits. Consistent with our explanation, we find that the more contributors value social benefits, the more they reduce their contributions after the block. (JEL H41, L17, L82)

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaoquan (Michael) Zhang & Feng Zhu, 2011. "Group Size and Incentives to Contribute: A Natural Experiment at Chinese Wikipedia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1601-1615, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:4:p:1601-15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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    1. Group Size and Incentives to Contribute: A Natural Experiment at Chinese Wikipedia (AER 2011) in ReplicationWiki

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