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How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite, Cooperation and Errors in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms




This paper studies behavior in experiments with a linear voluntary contributions mechanism for public goods conducted in Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and the USA. The same experimental design was used in the four countries. Our 'contribution function' design allows us to obtain a view of subjects' behavior from two complementary points of view. If yields information about situations where, in purely pecuniary terms, it is a dominant strategy to contribute all the endowment and about situations where it is a dominant strategy to contribute nothing. Our results show, first, that differences in behavior across countries are minor. We find that when people play "the same game" they behave similarly. Second, for all four countries our data are inconsistent with the explanation that subjects contribute only out of confusion. A common cooperative motivation is needed to explain the date.

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  • Jordi Brandts & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Arthur Schram, 2002. "How Universal is Behavior? A Four Country Comparison of Spite, Cooperation and Errors in Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 532.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:532.02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    2. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-1095, December.
    3. Robin Cubitt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1998. "On the Validity of the Random Lottery Incentive System," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-131, September.
    4. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
    5. Anderson, Simon P. & Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 1998. "A theoretical analysis of altruism and decision error in public goods games," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 297-323, November.
    6. Saijo, T. & Yamato, T. & Yokotani, K. & Cason, T.N., 2000. "Voluntary Participation Game Experiments with a Non-Excludable Public Good: Is Spitefulness a Source of Cooperation?," ISER Discussion Paper 0494, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    7. Schram, Arthur, 2000. "Sorting Out the Seeking: The Economics of Individual Motivations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 231-258, June.
    8. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
    9. Andereoni, J., 1988. "Why Free Ride? Strategies And Learning In Public Goods Experiments," Working papers 375, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    10. Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Hideki Nakamura, 2001. "The 'Spite' Dilemma in Voluntary Contribution Mechanism Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000155, David K. Levine.
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Abbink & Matthew Ellman, 2004. "The donor problem," Economics Working Papers 796, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2005.
    2. Enrique Fatás & Tibor Neugebauer & Pilar Tamborero, 2004. "How politicians make decisions under risk: a political choice experiment," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/58, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    3. Faillo, Marco & Grieco, Daniela & Zarri, Luca, 2012. "Cultural Diversity, Cooperation,and Anti-social Punishment," AICCON Working Papers 102-2012, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    4. T. Ahn & Myungsuk Lee & Lore Ruttan & James Walker, 2007. "Asymmetric payoffs in simultaneous and sequential prisoner’s dilemma games," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 353-366, September.
    5. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.

    More about this item


    experimental economics; cooperation; public goods games;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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