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The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America

  • Klein, Daniel B

The turnpike companies of early America (roughly 1795-1840) were very unprofitable, but conferred vast benefits to communities served. Purchasing stock was like paying for the road since such purchases were necessary to complete the road and unprofitability was foreseen. Thus, the turnpikes would appear to have been public goods. Yet, hundreds of turnpikes were provided through voluntary association. The free rider problem was overcome by an almost vigilant impulse to participate and to see that your neighbor did likewise. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 28 (1990)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 788-812

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:28:y:1990:i:4:p:788-812
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  1. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
  2. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
  3. Bohm, Peter, 1972. "Estimating demand for public goods: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 111-130.
  4. Peter Bohm, 1972. "Estimating the demand for public goods: An experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00126, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Marwell, Gerald & Ames, Ruth E., 1981. "Economists free ride, does anyone else? : Experiments on the provision of public goods, IV," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 295-310, June.
  6. Coase, R H, 1974. "The Lighthouse in Economics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 357-76, October.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Brubaker, Earl R, 1975. "Free Ride, Free Revelation, or Golden Rule?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 147-61, April.
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