Not It: Opting out of Voluntary Coalitions that Provide a Public Good
Most coalitions that form to increase contributions to a public good do not require full participation by all users of the public good, and therefore create incentives for free riding. If given the opportunity to opt out of a voluntary coalition, in theory, agents should try to be among the first to do so, forcing the remaining undecided agents to bear the cost of participating in the coalition. This study tests the predicted sequence of participation decisions in voluntary coalitions using real-time threshold public goods experiments. We find that subjects’ behavior is more consistent with the theoretical predictions when the difference in payoffs between coalition members and free-riding non-members is relatively large. Key Words: voluntary coalitions, voluntary agreements, public goods experiments, free riding
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