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A Prize To Give For: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms

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  • Luca Corazzini
  • Marco Faravelli
  • Luca Stanca

Abstract

This article investigates fund-raising mechanisms based on a prize as a way to overcome free riding in the private provision of public goods. We focus on an environment characterised by income heterogeneity and incomplete information about income levels. Our analysis compares experimentally the performance of a lottery, an all-pay auction and a benchmark voluntary contribution mechanism. We find that prize-based mechanisms perform better than voluntary contribution in terms of public good provision. Contrary to the theoretical predictions, contributions are significantly higher in the lottery than in the all-pay auction, both overall and by individual income types. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Corazzini & Marco Faravelli & Luca Stanca, 2010. "A Prize To Give For: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 944-967, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:547:p:944-967
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chan, Kenneth S. & Mestelman, Stuart & Muller, R. Andrew, 2008. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    2. Henrik Orzen, 2005. "Fundraising through Competition: Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Papers 2005-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    3. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Milyo, Jeffrey, 2008. "Inequality and public good provision: An experimental analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1010-1028, June.
    4. John Morgan, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 761-784.
    5. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-366, April.
    6. John Morgan & Martin Sefton, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810.
    7. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
    8. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
    9. Marco Faravelli, 2011. "The Important Thing Is Not (Always) Winning but Taking Part: Funding Public Goods with Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, February.
    10. Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 2008. "Spiteful Behavior in Voluntary Contribution Mechanism Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    11. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, May.
    12. Jacob K. Goeree & Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal & John L. Turner, 2005. "How (Not) to Raise Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 897-926, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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