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Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods

  • Urs Fischbacher


    (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics)

  • Simon Gaechter


    (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

We provide a direct test of the role of social preferences in voluntary cooperation. We elicit individuals’ cooperation preference in one experiment and make a point prediction about the contribution to a repeated public good. This allows for a novel test as to whether there are "types" of players who behave consistently with their elicited preferences. We find clear-cut evidence for the existence of "types". People who express free rider preferences show the most systematic deviation from the predicted contributions, because they contribute in the first half of the experiment. We also show that the interaction of heterogeneous types explains a large part of the dynamics of free riding.

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Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2006-01.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2006-01
Contact details of provider: Postal: University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD
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