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The Effects of (Incentivized) Belief Elicitation in Public Good Experiments

  • Simon Gaechter


    (University of Nottingham)

  • Elke Renner


    (University of Nottingham)

We investigate the impact of eliciting beliefs about the average contribution of other group members in finitely repeated public goods experiments. We find that belief accuracy is significantly higher when beliefs are incentivized. The distribution of beliefs as well as the relationship between contributions and beliefs are unaffected by incentives. Eliciting incentivized beliefs increases contribution levels relative to a benchmark treatment without belief elicitation, and significantly so in the latter half of the experiment. This result contradicts Croson (2000). We discuss the implications of our results for the design of experiments.

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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 2006-16.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2006-16
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  1. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  2. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
  3. Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thoeni, 2007. "Measuring Conditional Cooperation: A Replication Study in Russia," Discussion Papers 2007-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2008. "Belief Elicitation in Experiments: Is there a Hedging Problem?," IZA Discussion Papers 3517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Muller, Laurent & Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard & Vesterlund, Lise, 2008. "Strategic behavior and learning in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 782-793, September.
  8. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Bhatt, Meghana & Camerer, Colin F., 2005. "Self-referential thinking and equilibrium as states of mind in games: fMRI evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 424-459, August.
  11. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Wang, Stephanie W., . "On eliciting beliefs in strategic games," Working Papers 1271, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Martin Dufwenberg & Simon Gaechter & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "The Framing of Games and the Psychology of Strategic Choice," Discussion Papers 2006-20, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  13. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  14. Andersen, Steffen & Fountain, John & Harrison, Glenn W. & Rutström, Elisabet, 2009. "Eliciting Beliefs," Working Papers 03-2009, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  15. Nathaniel T. Wilcox & Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Thinking Like a Game Theorist: Comment," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-30, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  16. Theo Offerman & Joep Sonnemans & Gijs Van De Kuilen & Peter P. Wakker, 2009. "A Truth Serum for Non-Bayesians: Correcting Proper Scoring Rules for Risk Attitudes ," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1461-1489.
  17. repec:kap:expeco:v:1:y:1998:i:1:p:43-62 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Rutström, E. Elisabet & Wilcox, Nathaniel T., 2009. "Stated beliefs versus inferred beliefs: A methodological inquiry and experimental test," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 616-632, November.
  19. 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.
  20. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
  21. Croson, Rachel T. A., 2000. "Thinking like a game theorist: factors affecting the frequency of equilibrium play," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 299-314, March.
  22. Selten, Reinhard, 1996. "Axiomatic Characterization of the Quadratic Scoring Rule," Discussion Paper Serie B 390, University of Bonn, Germany.
  23. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-45, July.
  24. Rachel T. A. Croson, 2007. "Theories Of Commitment, Altruism And Reciprocity: Evidence From Linear Public Goods Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 199-216, 04.
  25. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  26. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Georg Weizs�cker, 2008. "Stated Beliefs and Play in Normal-Form Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 729-762.
  27. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
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