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On the probability of breakdown in participation games

  • Heijnen, P.


    (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

In this paper I analyze a participation game i.e. a public good game where contributions to the public good are binary (people either participate or not participate). Although variants of this game have been studied extensively, most previous work takes the benefit of provision of the public good to be independent of the number of players that contribute and show that the probability of breakdown, i.e. the probability that no one participates, is increasing in group size. Here this assumption is dropped. I show when the probability of breakdown is decreasing in group size and also present sufficient conditions under which the probability of breakdown is increasing in group size. Moreover I show that for large groups this probability is non-negligible and exceeding exp(−1) in the limit and that the expected number of participants is less than one. Also two economic examples, concerning R&D and debt overhang, are discussed.

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Paper provided by Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance in its series CeNDEF Working Papers with number 07-03.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ams:ndfwpp:07-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Dept. of Economics and Econometrics, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Roetersstraat 11, NL - 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone: + 31 20 525 52 58
Fax: + 31 20 525 52 83
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  1. Thomas R Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 2001. "A Strategic Calculus of Voting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000039, David K. Levine.
  2. Mamoru Kaneko & Jacek Prokop, 1993. "A game theoretical approach to the international debt overhang," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 1-24, February.
  3. Joseph E Harrington Jr, 2001. "A Simple Game-Theoretic Explanation for the Relationship Between Group Size and Helping," Economics Working Paper Archive 417, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  4. Anderson, Simon P & Engers, Maxim, 2005. "Participation Games: Market Entry, Coordination and the Beautiful Blonde," CEPR Discussion Papers 5241, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
  6. Marco A. Haan & Peter Kooreman, 2003. "How majorities can lose the election Another voting paradox," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 509-522, 06.
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