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Nudging cooperation in public goods provision

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  • Barron, Kai
  • Nurminen, Tuomas

Abstract

This paper experimentally studies two simple interventions that an authority figure might employ to promote cooperation in a public goods game when accurate feedback about contributions is not available. The first intervention aims to nudge participants to higher contribution levels by labeling contributions above a particular threshold as being ‘good’. Such a ‘norm-nudge’ is intended to provide subjects with a clear, valenced focal point upon which they can coordinate. The second intervention aims to exploit lying aversion to induce higher contributions by requiring subjects to announce how much they contributed. We find that the nudge leads to a striking increase in the cooperation rate. By contrast, the ex post announcement mechanism does not have a significant effect on the cooperation rate. We present suggestive evidence that the nudge we use provides subjects with a focal point, helping conditional cooperators to coordinate their contributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Barron, Kai & Nurminen, Tuomas, 2020. "Nudging cooperation in public goods provision," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:216878
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cooperation; nudge; focal point; public good; lying; experiment;

    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
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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