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Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency

  • Talbot Page
  • Louis Putterman
  • Bulent Unel

We find that a process of voluntary association where individuals express a preference about whom they want to be associated with can create strong incentives to increase efficiency and contributions in provision of a public good. This process of endogenous group formation perfectly sorted contributions by the order of group formation. Comparison of middle and last period behaviour suggests that a majority of the subject population are conditional cooperators, with a minority of monetary payoff maximisers. The experiment illustrates that under favourable conditions, where the opportunities of entry and exit are symmetrically balanced, a process of voluntary association can mitigate the free-rider problem. Copyright 2005 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 115 (2005)
Issue (Month): 506 (October)
Pages: 1032-1053

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:115:y:2005:i:506:p:1032-1053
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  1. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
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