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Public Observability of Decisions and Voluntary Contributions in a Multiperiod Context

Author

Listed:
  • Charles Noussair

    (Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia)

  • Steven Tucker

    (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Abstract

The authors conduct an experiment to explore whether contributions to a public good increase when public observation of contribution decisions is possible and whether any such increase is durable and transferable. Rege and Telle (2004) find that in one-shot games, public observation of all individuals' contribution decisions leads to higher contributions than would occur in the absence of such observation. In this study, the authors argue that public observation is ineffective in increasing contributions in a repeated game. Indeed, it actually reduces contribution rates relative to a treatment in which contribution decisions are not observable. Furthermore, prior experience with public observability reduces cooperative behavior in subsequent interaction in which decisions cannot be observed. The authors conjecture that approval incentives are more effective in leading to cooperative behavior when sanctioned parties are unable to avoid the expressions of disapproval they receive.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2007. "Public Observability of Decisions and Voluntary Contributions in a Multiperiod Context," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(2), pages 176-198, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:35:y:2007:i:2:p:176-198
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Nicklisch & Irenaeus Wolff, 2011. "Cooperation Norms in Multiple‐Stage Punishment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(5), pages 791-827, October.
    2. Anya Savikhin Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2014. "Recognizing contributors: an experiment on public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 673-690, December.
    3. repec:eee:gamebe:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:276-296 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Akpalu Wisdom & Muchapondwa Edwin & Adidoye Babatunde & Simbanegavi Witness, 2015. "Public disclosure for pollution abatement: African decision-makers in a PROPER public good experiment," WIDER Working Paper Series 060, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Daniel Jones & Sera Linardi, 2014. "Wallflowers: Experimental Evidence of an Aversion to Standing Out," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(7), pages 1757-1771, July.
    6. Bracha, Anat & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "How low can you go? Charity reporting when donations signal income and generosity," Working Papers 13-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    7. de Melo, Gioia & Piaggio, Matías, 2015. "The perils of peer punishment: Evidence from a common pool resource framed field experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 376-393.
    8. Spraggon, John M. & Sobarzo, Lucía Andrea Vergara & Stranlund, John K., 2015. "A note on stochastic public revelation and voluntary contributions to public goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 144-146.
    9. Alpízar, Francisco & Martinsson, Peter, 2010. "Are They Watching You and Does It Matter? - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers in Economics 456, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    10. Anya Savikhin & Roman Sheremeta, 2010. "Visibility of Contributions and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Working Papers 10-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    11. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:24-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:pit:wpaper:485 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Martinsson, Peter & Villegas-Palacio, Clara, 2010. "Does disclosure crowd out cooperation?," Working Papers in Economics 446, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Martinsson, Peter & Pham-Khanh, Nam & Villegas-Palacio, Clara, 2013. "Conditional cooperation and disclosure in developing countries," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 148-155.
    15. de Melo Gioia & Piaggio Matías, 2015. "The Perils of Peer Punishment: Evidence from a Common Pool Resource Experiment," Working Papers 2015-12, Banco de México.
    16. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:468-481 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2013. "Recognizing Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Artefactual Field Experiments 00430, The Field Experiments Website.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental; public goods; informal sanctions;

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