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Heterogenous Demand for Public Goods: Behavior in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism


  • Fisher, Joseph
  • Isaac, R. Mark
  • Schatzberg, Jeffrey W
  • Walker, James M.


Numerous laboratory experiments have investigated the performance of several processes for providing public goods through voluntary contributions. This research has been able to identify features of the institution or environment which are reliably likely to produce outcomes 'close' to the free riding outcome or 'substantially' greater than the pessimistic prediction of standard models. One such feature is the 'marginal per-capita return' (MPCR) from the public good. Various authors have altered MPCR between groups or for an entire group at the same time. The experiments reported here address a different question, 'What would happen if, within a group, some persons faced a 'high' MPCR while others faced a 'low' MPCR?' Coauthors are R. Mark Isaac, Jeffrey W. Schatzberg, and James M. Walker. Copyright 1995 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Fisher, Joseph & Isaac, R. Mark & Schatzberg, Jeffrey W & Walker, James M., 1995. "Heterogenous Demand for Public Goods: Behavior in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 249-266, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:85:y:1995:i:3-4:p:249-66

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Jensen, Henrik, 1998. "Inflation Targets and Contracts with Uncertain Central Banker Preferences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(3), pages 384-403, August.
    3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
    4. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
    6. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Nolan, Charles & Yates, Anthony, 1997. "Mechanisms for Achieving Monetary Stability: Inflation Targeting versus the ERM," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 46-60, February.
    7. Herrendorf, Berthold & Lockwood, Ben, 1997. "Rogoff's "Conservative" Central Banker Restored," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 476-495, November.
    8. Eijffinger, Sylvester & Hoeberichts, Marco & Schaling, Eric, 2000. "Optimal Central Bank Conservativeness in an Open Economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 339-355, December.
    9. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Bovenberg, Lans, 2001. " When Does an Inflation Target Yield the Second Best?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 119-126, March.
    10. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    11. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    12. Muscatelli, V Anton, 1999. "Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets under Uncertainty: Why We Might Need Conservative Central Bankers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 241-254, May.
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