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Free Riding with Discrete and Continuous Public Goods: Some Experimental Evidence

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  • Asch, Peter
  • Gigliotti, Gary A
  • Polito, James A

Abstract

Two experimental designs were employed in which subjects were offered either a 'discrete' public good, for which group contributions must meet a provision point before subjects receive payoffs; and a 'continuous' public good, which returned 30 percent of group contributions to each subject at all contributions levels. Free riding, or non-contribution, is a dominant strategy in the continuous case. Non-contribution is not a dominant strategy in the discrete case; there are multiple equilibria. Contribution levels were similar in both cases, and did not vary significantly with method of payment (hypothetical versus real money); earnings, however, were higher in the continuous and real-money versions of the experiment. Subjects' demographic characteristics made little difference to contribution patterns. The most significant determinant of contributions was the round of the 'game.' Roughly speaking, subjects contributed less the longer they played, regardless of other factors. Copyright 1993 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Asch, Peter & Gigliotti, Gary A & Polito, James A, 1993. "Free Riding with Discrete and Continuous Public Goods: Some Experimental Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 293-305, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:77:y:1993:i:2:p:293-305
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    Cited by:

    1. Rondeau, Daniel & Poe, Gregory L. & Schulze, William D., 2005. "VCM or PPM? A comparison of the performance of two voluntary public goods mechanisms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1581-1592, August.
    2. Doruk İriş & Jungmin Lee & Alessandro Tavoni, 2015. "Delegation and public pressure in a threshold public goods game: theory and experimental evidence," GRI Working Papers 186, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    3. Hasson, Reviva & Löfgren, Åsa & Visser, Martine, 2010. "Climate change in a public goods game: Investment decision in mitigation versus adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 331-338, December.
    4. David McEvoy, 2010. "Not it: opting out of voluntary coalitions that provide a public good," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 9-23, January.
    5. Rondeau, Daniel & D. Schulze, William & Poe, Gregory L., 1999. "Voluntary revelation of the demand for public goods using a provision point mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 455-470, June.
    6. Rachel Croson & Melanie Marks, 2000. "Step Returns in Threshold Public Goods: A Meta- and Experimental Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 239-259, March.
    7. Federica Alberti & Edward J. Cartwright, 2016. "Full agreement and the provision of threshold public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 205-233, January.
    8. Bougherara, Douadia & Denant-Boemont, Laurent & Masclet, David, 2011. "Cooperation and framing effects in provision point mechanisms: Experimental evidence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1200-1210, April.
    9. 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.
    10. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.

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