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Does Uncertainty Deter Provision of Public Goods?

Listed author(s):
  • Béatrice Boulu-Reshef
  • Samuel H. Brott
  • Adam Zylbersztejn

We study a finitely repeated public goods game (based on the voluntary contribution mechanism) played under complete uncertainty about the marginal benefit of the public good relative to the private consumption (commonly known as the marginal per capita return): neither one’s marginal per capita return nor other players’ marginal per capita returns are known at the time of decision-making. We show that contributions are equivalent when the rate of return is predetermined and when it is uncertain, and display a similar decay over time. Combined with the previous experimental findings, our results suggest that cooperation in public goods games is sensitive to the source of uncertainty about marginal per capita return. JEL Codes: H41, D81, C91, C92.

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Article provided by Presses de Sciences-Po in its journal Revue économique.

Volume (Year): 68 (2017)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 785-791

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Handle: RePEc:cai:recosp:reco_pr3_0087
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cairn.info/revue-economique.htm

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  1. Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy & Sabrina Teyssier, 2014. "Heterogeneous reactions to heterogeneity in returns from public goods," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 195-217, June.
  2. Fisher, Joseph & Isaac, R. Mark & Schatzberg, Jeffrey W & Walker, James M., 1995. "Heterogenous Demand for Public Goods: Behavior in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 249-266, December.
  3. Dickinson, David L., 1998. "The voluntary contributions mechanism with uncertain group payoffs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 517-533, May.
  4. Oliver Kim & Mark Walker, 1984. "The free rider problem: Experimental evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 3-24, January.
  5. M. Levati & Andrea Morone & Annamaria Fiore, 2009. "Voluntary contributions with imperfect information: An experimental study," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 199-216, January.
  6. Brock V Stoddard, 2015. "Probabilistic Production of a Public Good," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 37-52.
  7. Lata Gangadharan & Veronika Nemes, 2009. "Experimental Analysis Of Risk And Uncertainty In Provisioning Private And Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 146-164, 01.
  8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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