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Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?


  • Palfrey, Thomas R
  • Prisbrey, Jeffrey E


The authors report the results of voluntary contributions experiments where subjects are randomly assigned different rates of return from their private consumption. These random assignments are changed round to round, enabling the measurement of individual player contribution rates as a function of that player's investment cost. The authors directly test these response functions for the presence of warm-glow and/or altruism effects. They find significant evidence for heterogeneous warm-glow effects that are, on average, low in magnitude. The authors statistically reject the presence of an altruism effect. Copyright 1997 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 829-846, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:87:y:1997:i:5:p:829-46

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles W. Calomiris & Gary Gorton, 1991. "The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 109-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gorton, Gary & Pennacchi, George, 1990. " Financial Intermediaries and Liquidity Creation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 49-71, March.
    3. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
    4. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    5. Calomiris, Charles W. & Schweikart, Larry, 1991. "The Panic of 1857: Origins, Transmission, and Containment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 807-834, December.
    6. Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
    7. Calomiris, Charles W., 1990. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary? A Historical Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 283-295, June.
    8. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    9. Charles W. Calomiris & Charles M. Kahn & Stefan Krasa, 1991. "Optimal contingent bank liquidation under moral hazard," Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation 91-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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