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One bad apple? Heterogeneity and information in public good provision

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  • Angela Oliveira

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  • Rachel Croson
  • Catherine Eckel

Abstract

Previous research demonstrates that individuals vary in their social preferences. Less well-understood is how group composition affects the behavior of different social preference types. Does one bad apple really spoil the bunch? This paper exogenously identifies experimental participants’ social preferences, then systematically assigns individuals to homogeneous or heterogeneous groups to examine the impact of ‘bad apples’ on cooperation and efficiency. Consistent with previous research, we find that groups with more selfish types achieve lower levels of efficiency. We identify two mechanisms for the effect. First, the selfish players contribute less. Second, selfish players induce lower contributions from the conditional cooperators, and this effect increases in the number of selfish players. These results are not sensitive to information about the distribution of types in the group. Copyright Economic Science Association 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Oliveira & Rachel Croson & Catherine Eckel, 2015. "One bad apple? Heterogeneity and information in public good provision," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 116-135, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:18:y:2015:i:1:p:116-135
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-014-9412-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rachel T. A. Croson, 2007. "Theories Of Commitment, Altruism And Reciprocity: Evidence From Linear Public Goods Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 199-216, April.
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    2. repec:eee:gamebe:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:276-296 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:soceco:v:77:y:2018:i:c:p:88-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:199-216 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:192-209 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:32-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Dekel, Sagi & Fischer, Sven & Zultan, Ro’i, 2017. "Potential Pareto Public Goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 87-96.
    8. repec:eee:soceco:v:77:y:2018:i:c:p:40-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:spr:sochwe:v:51:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00355-018-1133-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Tjaša Bjedov & Simon Lapointe & Thierry Madiès & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Does decentralization of decisions increase the stability of large groups?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 51(4), pages 681-716, December.
    11. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:2061-:d:153030 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Angelovski, Andrej & Di Cagno, Daniela & Güth, Werner & Marazzi, Francesca & Panaccione, Luca, 2018. "Does heterogeneity spoil the basket? The role of productivity and feedback information on public good provision," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 40-49.
    13. Guido, Andrea & Robbett, Andrea & Romaniuc, Rustam, 2019. "Group formation and cooperation in social dilemmas: A survey and meta-analytic evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 192-209.
    14. Serhiy Kandul & Bruno Lanz, 2018. "When within- and outgroup norms conflict: A public good experiment with strategic ignorance of social norms," IRENE Working Papers 18-06, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    15. Toke R. Fosgaard, 2018. "Cooperation stability: A representative sample in the lab," IFRO Working Paper 2018/08, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods; Group composition; Cooperation; Social preference types; Heterogeneity; H41; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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