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Gunning for efficiency with third party enforcement in threshold public goods

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  • James Andreoni

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  • Laura Gee

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Abstract

When public goods can only be provided when donations cross a minimum threshold, this creates an advantage in that Pareto Efficient outcomes can be Nash Equilibria. Despite this, experiments have shown that groups struggle to coordinate on one of the many efficient equilibria. We apply a mechanism used successfully in continuous public goods games, the Hired Gun Mechanism (Andreoni and Gee in J. Public Econ. 96(11–12):1036–1046, 2012 ), to see if it can successfully get subjects across the threshold. When we use the mechanism to eliminate only inefficient equilibria, without addressing coordination, there is a modest but statistically insignificant improvement with the mechanism. However, when we hone the mechanism to eliminate all but one of the provision-point equilibria, thereby addressing the coordination issue, the mechanism moves all subjects to the desired efficient outcome almost immediately. In fact, after only one round using the hired gun mechanism, all subject are coordinating on the chosen equilibrium. The mechanism can be applied in settings where a group (1) has a plan for public good provision, (2) can measure contributions, (3) can fine members and (4) has an agreed upon standard for expected contributions. In these settings simple punishments, when focused on solving coordination as well as free riding, can greatly improve efficiency. Copyright Economic Science Association 2015

Suggested Citation

  • James Andreoni & Laura Gee, 2015. "Gunning for efficiency with third party enforcement in threshold public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(1), pages 154-171, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:18:y:2015:i:1:p:154-171
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-014-9392-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-017-0126-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Laura K. Gee & Xinxin Lyu & Heather Urry, 2017. "Anger Management: Aggression and Punishment in the Provision of Public Goods," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, January.
    3. Liu, Jia & Riyanto, Yohanes Eko & Zhang, Ruike, 2017. "How Large Should the “Bullets” be? Dissecting the Role of Unilateral and Tie Punishment in the Provision of Public Goods," MPRA Paper 80388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Corazzini, Luca & Cotton, Christopher & Valbonesi, Paola, 2015. "Donor coordination in project funding: Evidence from a threshold public goods experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 16-29.
    5. Jan U. Auerbach & Miguel A. Fonseca, 2017. "Preordered Service in Contract Enforcement," Discussion Papers 1704, Exeter University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods; Experiment; Laboratory; Equilibrium selection; Punishment; Free riding; C72; C91; C92; D7; H41; H42;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods

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