IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Community projects: an experimental analysis of a fair implementation process


  • Simona Cicognani
  • Anna D’Ambrosio
  • Werner Güth
  • Simone Pfuderer
  • Matteo Ploner



We define and experimentally test a public provision mechanism that meets three basic ethical requirements and allows community members to influence, via monetary bids, which of several projects is implemented. For each project, participants are assigned personal values, which can be positive or negative. We provide either public or private information about personal values. This produces two distinct public provision games, which are experimentally implemented and analyzed for various projects. In spite of the complex experimental task, participants do not rely on bidding their own personal values as an obvious simple heuristic whose general acceptance would result in fair and efficient outcomes. Rather, they rely on strategic underbidding. Although underbidding is affected by projects’ characteristics, the provision mechanism mostly leads to the implementation of the most efficient project. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Simona Cicognani & Anna D’Ambrosio & Werner Güth & Simone Pfuderer & Matteo Ploner, 2015. "Community projects: an experimental analysis of a fair implementation process," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(1), pages 109-132, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:44:y:2015:i:1:p:109-132
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-014-0822-y

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James Andreoni, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21.
    2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    4. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-755, September.
    5. Gigerenzer, Gerd & Todd, Peter M. & ABC Research Group,, 2000. "Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195143812.
    6. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-366, April.
    7. Rondeau, Daniel & D. Schulze, William & Poe, Gregory L., 1999. "Voluntary revelation of the demand for public goods using a provision point mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 455-470, June.
    8. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    9. Cadsby, Charles Bram & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1999. "Voluntary provision of threshold public goods with continuous contributions: experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 53-73, January.
    10. Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1998. "Public good provision and public bad prevention: The effect of framing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 143-161, January.
    11. Varian, Hal R., 1974. "Equity, envy, and efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 63-91, September.
    12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    13. Pamela Schmitt, 2004. "On Perceptions of Fairness: The Role of Valuations, Outside Options, and Information in Ultimatum Bargaining Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 49-73, February.
    14. Marks, Melanie & Croson, Rachel, 1998. "Alternative rebate rules in the provision of a threshold public good: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 195-220, February.
    15. Daniel Kahneman & Jack L. Knetsch & Richard H. Thaler, 1991. "Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 193-206, Winter.
    16. Werner Güth & Hartmut Kliemt, 2011. "Procedurally Fair Provision of Public Projects An axiomatic characterization," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    17. Kagel, John H. & Kim, Chung & Moser, Donald, 1996. "Fairness in Ultimatum Games with Asymmetric Information and Asymmetric Payoffs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 100-110, March.
    18. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Werner Güth & Anastasios Koukoumelis & M. Vittoria Levati, 2011. ""One man's meat is another man's poison." An experimental study of voluntarily providing public projects that raise mixed feelings," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    20. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Agnes Bäker & Werner Güth & Kerstin Pull & Manfred Stadler, 2012. "On the Context-Dependency of Inequality Aversion - Experimental Evidence and a Stylized Model -," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-023, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Werner Güth & Anastasios Koukoumelis & M. Vittoria Levati & Matteo Ploner, 2012. "Public projects benefiting some and harming others: three experimental studies," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Güth, Werner & Vittoria Levati, M. & Montinari, Natalia, 2014. "Ranking alternatives by a fair bidding rule: A theoretical and experimental analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 206-221.
    4. Güth, Werner, 2014. "Endogenous community formation and collective provision – A procedurally fair mechanism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 389-395.

    More about this item


    C91; C72; D63;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:44:y:2015:i:1:p:109-132. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.