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The Dynamic Free Rider Problem: A Laboratory Study

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  • Marco Battaglini
  • Salvatore Nunnari
  • Thomas R. Palfrey

Abstract

We report the results of an experiment that investigates free riding in the accumulation of durable public goods. We consider economies with reversibility, where contributions can be positive or negative; and economies with irreversibility, where contributions are nonnegative. Aggregate outcomes support the qualitative predictions of the Markov Perfect Equilibria (MPE) characterized in Battaglini, Nunnari, and Palfrey (2014): steady state levels of public good are lower with reversibility than irreversibility; accumulation is inefficiently slow; and the public good is under-provided in both regimes. On the other hand, public good levels are higher than MPE, and some evidence of history dependence is detected.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Dynamic Free Rider Problem: A Laboratory Study," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 268-308, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:268-308
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20150126
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Battaglini & Bård Harstad, 2016. "Participation and Duration of Environmental Agreements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(1), pages 160-204.
    2. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Political Economy of Public Debt: A Laboratory Study," NBER Working Papers 22406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Harstad, Bård, 2016. "The market for conservation and other hostages," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 124-151.
    4. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Dynamic Free Rider Problem: A Laboratory Study," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 268-308, November.
    5. Tasneem, Dina & Engle-Warnick, Jim & Benchekroun, Hassan, 2017. "An experimental study of a common property renewable resource game in continuous time," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 91-119.
    6. Hall, Lisa M.H. & Buckley, Alastair R., 2016. "A review of energy systems models in the UK: Prevalent usage and categorisation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 607-628.
    7. G. Calzolari & M. Casari & R. Ghidoni, 2016. "Carbon is Forever: a Climate Change Experiment on Cooperation," Working Papers wp1065, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Guererk, Oezguer & Rockenbach, Bettina & Wolff, Irenaeus, 2010. "The effects of punishment in dynamic public-good games," MPRA Paper 22097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Masaki Aoyagi & V. Bhaskar & Guillaume R. Frechette, 2015. "The Impact of Monitoring in Infinitely Repeated Games: Perfect, Public, and Private," ISER Discussion Paper 0942, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    10. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas Palfrey, 2011. "The Free Rider Problem: a Dynamic Analysis," Working Papers 1354, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    11. Battaglini, Marco, 2014. "A dynamic theory of electoral competition," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(2), May.
    12. repec:eee:pubeco:v:150:y:2017:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Emanuel Vespa & Alistair J. Wilson, 2015. "Dynamic Incentives and Markov Perfection: Putting the 'Conditional' in Conditional Cooperation," CESifo Working Paper Series 5413, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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