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Income Inequality, Reciprocity And Public Good Provision: An Experimental Analysis

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  • Andre Hofmeyr
  • Justine Burns
  • Martine Visser

Abstract

This paper analyses the impact of income inequality on public good provision in an experimental setting. A sample of secondary school students were recruited to participate in a simple linear public goods game where income heterogeneity was introduced by providing participants with unequal token endowments. The results show that endowment heterogeneity does not have any significant impact on contributions to the public good, and that consistent with models of reciprocity, low and high endowment players contribute the same fraction of their endowment to the public pool. Moreover, individuals appear to adjust their contributions in order to maintain a fair share rule. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation (c) 2007 Economic Society of South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Andre Hofmeyr & Justine Burns & Martine Visser, 2007. "Income Inequality, Reciprocity And Public Good Provision: An Experimental Analysis," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(3), pages 508-520, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:75:y:2007:i:3:p:508-520
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Maxwell Burton-Chellew & Robert May & Stuart West, 2013. "Combined inequality in wealth and risk leads to disaster in the climate change game," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 120(4), pages 815-830, October.
    4. Philipp E. Otto & Friedel Bolle, 2016. "Organizational power: Should remuneration heterogeneity mirror hierarchy?," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 20(3), pages 187-205, September.
    5. Keser, Claudia & Markstädter, Andreas & Schmidt, Martin, 2014. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogenous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 224, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Simone Gobien & Björn Vollan, 2016. "Exchanging Land for Solidarity: Solidarity Transfers among Voluntarily Resettled and Non-resettled Land-Reform Beneficiaries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(3), pages 802-818.
    7. Weng, Qian & Carlsson, Fredrik, 2015. "Cooperation in teams: The role of identity, punishment, and endowment distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 25-38.
    8. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Munz, Jan M. & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Income inequality and willingness to pay for public environmental goods," Economics Working Papers 2016-04, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    9. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Konow , James & Nyborg, Karine, 2012. "Cooperation Is Relative: Income and Framing Effects with Public Goods," Memorandum 16/2012, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    10. Agathe Rouaix & Charles Figuières & Marc Willinger, 2015. "The trade-off between welfare and equality in a public good experiment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(3), pages 601-623, October.
    11. Sebastian Prediger, 2011. "How does income inequality affect cooperation and punishment in public good settings?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201138, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    12. Hasson, Reviva & Löfgren, Åsa & Visser, Martine, 2010. "Climate change in a public goods game: Investment decision in mitigation versus adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 331-338, December.
    13. Annarita COLASANTE & Alberto RUSSO, 2014. "The Impact of Inequality on Cooperation: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 401, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    14. Simone Gobien & Bj�rn Vollan, 2013. "Playing with the social network: Social cohesion in resettled and non-resettled communities in Cambodia," Working Papers 2013-16, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    15. Keser, Claudia & Markstädter, Andreas & Schmidt, Martin, 2017. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogeneous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 291-310.
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    17. Peter Martinsson & Clara Villegas-Palacio & Conny Wollbrant, 2015. "Cooperation and social classes: evidence from Colombia," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(4), pages 829-848, December.
    18. Claudia Keser & Andreas Markstädter & Martin Schmidt & Cornelius Schnitzler, 2013. "Rich man and Lazarus Asymmetric Endowments in Public-Good Experiments," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-32, CIRANO.
    19. Claudia Keser & Andreas Markstädter & Martin Schmidt, 2014. "Mandatory minimum contributions, heterogeneous endowments and voluntary public-good provision," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-47, CIRANO.
    20. Masaki Aoyagi & Naoko Nishimura & Yoshitaka Okano, 2017. "Efficiency and Voluntary Redistribution under Inequality," ISER Discussion Paper 0992, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    21. Keser, Claudia & Markstädter, Andreas & Schmidt, Martin & Schnitzler, Cornelius, 2014. "Social costs of inequality: Heterogeneous endowments in public-good experiments," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 217, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
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