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Public Goods Provision and Sanctioning in Privileged Groups

Author

Listed:
  • Ernesto Reuben

    (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University)

  • Arno Riedl

    (CESifo, IZA, and Department of Economics, Maastricht University)

Abstract

In public-good provision, privileged groups enjoy the advantage that some of their members find it optimal to supply a positive amount of the public good. However, the inherent asymmetric nature of these groups may make the enforcement of cooperative behavior through informal sanctioning harder to accomplish. In this article, the authors experimentally investigate public-good provision in normal and privileged groups with and without decentralized punishment. The authors find that compared to normal groups, privileged groups are relatively ineffective in using costly sanctions to increase everyone's contributions. Punishment is less targeted toward strong free riders, and they exhibit a weaker increase in contributions after being punished. Thus, the authors show that privileged groups are not as privileged as they initially seem.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernesto Reuben & Arno Riedl, 2009. "Public Goods Provision and Sanctioning in Privileged Groups," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 53(1), pages 72-93, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:53:y:2009:i:1:p:72-93
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    privileged groups; public goods; punishment; cooperation; collective action;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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