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Is There a Bias Toward Contributing to Local Public Goods? Cultural Effects


  • Calvin Blackwell
  • Michael McKee


A series of experiments was designed and implemented to investigate cross-cultural differences in preferences for contributing to local public goods. The research investigates differences between contributions made by participants from the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan. In these experiments each participant has three options: keep money for herself, contribute to a public good that benefits a small group (the local good), or contribute to a public good that benefits the entire group (the global good). The researchers find significant differences in contribution patterns across the three cultures, and find that all participants contribute significantly more to the small group public good than to the large group public good.

Suggested Citation

  • Calvin Blackwell & Michael McKee, 2010. "Is There a Bias Toward Contributing to Local Public Goods? Cultural Effects," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 243-257, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:39:y:2010:i:3:p:243-257 DOI: 10.1007/s12143-010-9073-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cummings, Ronald G. & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McKee, Michael & Torgler, Benno, 2009. "Tax morale affects tax compliance: Evidence from surveys and an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 447-457, June.
    2. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    3. Jordi Brandts & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Arthur Schram, 2004. "How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite and Cooperation in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(3_4), pages 381-424, June.
    4. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does culture matter in economic behavior? Ultimatum game bargaining among the machiguenga," Artefactual Field Experiments 00067, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Blackwell, Calvin & McKee, Michael, 2003. "Only for my own neighborhood?: Preferences and voluntary provision of local and global public goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 115-131, September.
    6. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
    7. Chen, Kang & Tang, Fang-Fang, 2009. "Cultural differences between Tibetans and ethnic Han Chinese in ultimatum bargaining experiments," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 78-84, March.
    8. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Grijalva, Therese & Berrens, Robert P. & Shaw, W. Douglass, 2011. "Species preservation versus development: An experimental investigation under uncertainty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 995-1005, March.

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