IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Paretian dictators: constraining choice in a voluntary contribution game

  • Robert Oxoby


We explore individuals’ preferences over limiting the choice sets of others in an environment with externalities. Specifically, we conduct public goods games in which participants can mandate the contributions of others or restrict choices to a subset of feasible contributions levels. We find that, relative to a baseline treatment in which individuals make choices from the set of all contribution alternatives, allowing individuals to constrain the choices of others results in more efficient outcomes. We discuss these results in light of the literature on behavioral theories of reciprocity and conditional cooperation and in regards to the literature on pre-constitutional design, political institutions, and social choice. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Constitutional Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 24 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 125-138

in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:24:y:2013:i:2:p:125-138
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. R. Isaac & David Schmidtz & James Walker, 1989. "The assurance problem in a laboratory market," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 217-236, September.
  2. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. James M. Walker & Matthew A. Halloran, 2004. "Rewards and Sanctions and the Provision of Public Goods in One-Shot Settings," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 235-247, October.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto & Trebbi, Francesco, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," Scholarly Articles 4481498, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Stephan Kroll & Todd L. Cherry & Jason F. Shogren, 2007. "Voting, Punishment, And Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 557-570, 07.
  6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1975. "Macroeconomic Constraints, Economic Efficiency and Ethics: An Introduction to Kantian Economics," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 42(168), pages 430-37, November.
  7. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  8. Amartya Sen, 1996. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1766, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. John M. Spraggon & Robert J. Oxoby, 2009. "Game Theory For Playing Games: Sophistication In A Negative-Externality Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(3), pages 467-481, 07.
  10. Charness, Gary B & Brandts, Jordi, 1998. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4kx7d5pv, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  11. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Martine Visser, 2006. "Does Stake Size matter for Cooperation and Punishment?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-104/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  13. Marks, Melanie & Croson, Rachel, 1998. "Alternative rebate rules in the provision of a threshold public good: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 195-220, February.
  14. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  15. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Liberty, Unanimity and Rights," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(171), pages 217-45, August.
  17. Gary E Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2005. "Fair Procedures: Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1054-1076, October.
  18. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  19. Cason, Timothy N & Mui, Vai-Lam, 1997. "A Laboratory Study of Group Polarisation in the Team Dictator Game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1465-83, September.
  20. Gordon Tullock, 1959. "Problems of Majority Voting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 571.
  21. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
  22. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
  23. Rachel Croson & Enrique Fatás & Tibor Neugebauer, 2004. "Reciprocity, Matching and Conditional Cooperation in Two Public Goods Games," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/32, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  24. Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2011. "The role of beliefs, trust, and risk in contributions to a public good," Working Papers in Economics 482, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  25. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Laury, Susan K., 2002. "Private costs and public benefits: unraveling the effects of altruism and noisy behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 255-276, February.
  26. Bilodeau, Marc & Gravel, Nicolas, 2004. "Voluntary provision of a public good and individual morality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 645-666, March.
  27. Oxoby, Robert J. & McLeish, Kendra N., 2004. "Sequential decision and strategy vector methods in ultimatum bargaining: evidence on the strength of other-regarding behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 399-405, September.
  28. Simon G�chter & Arno Riedl, 2003. "Moral Property Rights in Bargaining with Infeasible Claims," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-055/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  29. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  30. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Chun-Lei Yang, 2003. "The Hot Versus Cold Effect in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, June.
  31. Elena Cettolin & Arno Riedl, 2011. "Partial Coercion, Conditional Cooperation, and Self-Commitment in Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 3556, CESifo Group Munich.
  32. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-57, Jan.-Feb..
  33. Voigt, Stefan, 1997. " Positive Constitutional Economics: A Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 11-53, March.
  34. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  35. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  36. Buckley, Edward & Croson, Rachel, 2006. "Income and wealth heterogeneity in the voluntary provision of linear public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 935-955, May.
  37. Van Huyck John B. & Battalio Raymond C. & Beil Richard O., 1993. "Asset Markets as an Equilibrium Selection Mechanism: Coordination Failure, Game Form Auctions, and Tacit Communication," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 485-504, July.
  38. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  39. Todd L. Cherry & Stephan Kroll & Jason F. Shogren, 2003. "The Impact of Endowment Heterogeneity and Origin on Public Good Contributions: Evidence from the Lab," Working Papers 03-05, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  40. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
  41. Kenneth S Chan & Rob Godby & Stuart Mestelman & R. Andrew Muller, 1996. "Spite, Guilt and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods When Income Is Not Distributed Equally," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 605-09, April.
  42. Cason, Timothy N. & Khan, Feisal U., 1999. "A laboratory study of voluntary public goods provision with imperfect monitoring and communication," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 533-552, April.
  43. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  44. 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.
  45. B�rd Harstad, 2005. "Majority Rules and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1535-1568, November.
  46. Isaac, R. Mark & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1994. "Group size and the voluntary provision of public goods : Experimental evidence utilizing large groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-36, May.
  47. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  48. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  49. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  50. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
  51. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C1-C33, March.
  52. Karol Boudreaux & Jody Lipford, 1998. "Group Size, Group Heterogeneity, and Voting Rules: An Application of the Buchanan-Tullock Model to the European Union," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 133-152, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:24:y:2013:i:2:p:125-138. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.