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Does Competition Resolve the Free-Rider Problem in the Voluntary Provision of Impure Public Goods? Experimental Evidence

In this paper we assume that a public project creates different payoffs to different contributors. Within this environment we study two institutions: Rank Order Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (Rank-Order-VCM) and Random Order Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (Random-Order-VCM). In Rank-Order-VCM individuals compete with their observable contributions towards a public project for a larger share of the payoff that the project generates while in Random-Order-VCM the shares are assigned randomly. We observe that competition outweighs incentives to free-ride and find that Random-Rank-VCM elicits median contributions equal to the full endowment throughout the whole experiment, including the last period. In Random-Rank-VCM the contributions are significantly lower and decline over time.

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File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/1007.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 10/07.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 17 Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:10/07
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and non Monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Post-Print halshs-00175251, HAL.
  3. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2004. "Cooperation Under the Threat of Expulsion in a Public Goods Experiment," Working Papers 2004-05, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Ananish Chaudhuri & Tirnud Paichayontvijit, 2006. "Conditional cooperation and voluntary contributions to a public good," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(8), pages 1-14.
  5. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
  6. Neugebauer, Tibor & Perote, Javier & Schmidt, Ulrich & Loos, Malte, 2009. "Selfish-biased conditional cooperation: On the decline of contributions in repeated public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 52-60, February.
  7. Frank P. Maier-Rigaud & Peter Martinsson & Gianandrea Staffiero, 2009. "Ostracism and the Provision of a Public Good Experimental Evidence," Post-Print hal-00755790, HAL.
  8. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2005. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(4), pages 636-, December.
  9. Talbot Page & Louis Putterman & Bulent Unel, 2005. "Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry and Efficiency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1032-1053, October.
  10. Gunnthorsdottir, Anna & Houser, Daniel & McCabe, Kevin, 2007. "Disposition, history and contributions in public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 304-315, February.
  11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2006:i:8:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. R. Mark Isaac & James M. Walker, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-199.
  13. T. K. Ahn & R. Mark Isaac & Timothy C. Salmon, 2008. "Endogenous Group Formation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(2), pages 171-194, 04.
  14. Mark Isaac, R. & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., 1985. "Public goods provision in an experimental environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 51-74, February.
  15. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  16. Tibor Neugebauer & Susana Cabrera & Enrique Fatas & Juan A. Lacomba, 2012. "Vertically Splitting a Firm: Promotion and Demotion in a Team Production Experiment," LSF Research Working Paper Series 12-3, Luxembourg School of Finance, University of Luxembourg.
  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  18. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
  19. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2005. "Combining Monetary and Social Sanctions to Promote Cooperation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 649-660, July.
  20. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
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