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The Experimetrics of Public Goods: Inferring Motivations from Contributions

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  • Nicholas Bardsley
  • Peter Moffatt

Abstract

In public goods experiments, stochastic choice, censoring and motivational heterogeneity give scope for disagreement over the extent of unselfishness, and whether it is reciprocal or altruistic. We show that these problems can be addressed econometrically, by estimating a finite mixture model to isolate types, incorporating double censoring and a tremble term. Most subjects act selfishly, but a substantial proportion are reciprocal with altruism playing only a marginal role. Isolating reciprocators enables a test of Sugden’s model of voluntary contributions. We estimate that reciprocators display a self-serving bias relative to the model. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Bardsley & Peter Moffatt, 2007. "The Experimetrics of Public Goods: Inferring Motivations from Contributions," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 161-193, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:62:y:2007:i:2:p:161-193
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-006-9013-3
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    altruism; finite mixture models; reciprocity; tobit; trembles; voluntary contributions; C1; C9; H4;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

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