IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Sequential versus Simultaneous Contributions to Public Goods: Experimental Evidence

  • Simon Gaechter
  • Daniele Nosenzo
  • Elke Renner
  • Martin Sefton

We report an experiment comparing sequential and simultaneous contributions to a public good in a quasi-linear two-person setting (Varian, Journal of Public Economics, 1994). Our findings support the theoretical argument that sequential contributions result in lower overall provision than simultaneous contributions. However, the distribution of contributions is not as predicted: late contributors are sometimes willing to punish early low contributors by contributing less than their best response. This induces early contributors to contribute more than they otherwise would. A consequence of this is that we fail to observe a predicted first mover advantage.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2602.

in new window

Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2602
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich

Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. M. Vittoria Levati & Matthias Sutter & Eline van der Heijden, 2007. "Leading by Example in a Public Goods Experiment with Heterogeneity and Incomplete Information," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 51(5), pages 793-818, October.
  2. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Romano, Richard & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2001. "Why charities announce donations: a positive perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 423-447, September.
  5. Rachel Croson & Enrique Fatás & Tibor Neugebauer, 2004. "Reciprocity, Matching and Conditional Cooperation in Two Public Goods Games," IESA Working Papers Series 0409, Institute for Social Syudies of Andalusia - Higher Council for Scientific Research.
  6. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
  7. Andreoni,J. & Brown,P.M. & Vesterlund,L., 1999. "What makes an allocation fair? : Some experimental evidence," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Laury, Susan K. & Holt, Charles A., 2008. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Results with Interior Nash Equilibria," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  9. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. David Lucking-Reiley & John List, 2002. "The effects of seed money and refunds on charitable giving: Experimental evidence from a university capital campaign," Natural Field Experiments 00301, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Pedro Rey Biel & Steffen Huck, 2005. "Endogenous Leadership in Teams," Microeconomics 0506004, EconWPA.
  12. Varian, Hal R., 1994. "Sequential contributions to public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 165-186, February.
  13. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Andreoni,J., 2002. "Leadership giving in charitable fund-raising," Working papers 13, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Jen Shang & Rachel Croson, 2008. "The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00322, The Field Experiments Website.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  17. Keser, Claudia, 1996. "Voluntary contributions to a public good when partial contribution is a dominant strategy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 359-366, March.
  18. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
  19. Potters, J.J.M. & Sefton, M. & Vesterlund, L., 2007. "Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games : An experimental study," Other publications TiSEM 1ea4e6c8-3071-46d8-a29f-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  20. Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2011. "Endogenous Move Structure and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Theory and Experiment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(5), pages 721-754, October.
  21. Marc Willinger & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2001. "Strength of the Social Dilemma in a Public Goods Experiment: An Exploration of the Error Hypothesis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(2), pages 131-144, October.
  22. 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.
  23. Potters, J.J.M. & Sefton, M. & Vesterlund, L., 2005. "After you - endogenous sequencing in voluntary contribution games," Other publications TiSEM db491f52-df7b-43dd-ab2b-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  24. Josef Falkinger, 2000. "A Simple Mechanism for the Efficient Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 247-264, March.
  25. Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2001. "Stackelberg Beats Cournot: On Collusion and Efficiency in Experimental Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 749-65, October.
  26. Guttman, Joel M., 1986. "Matching behavior and collective action : Some experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 171-198, June.
  27. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1997. "The Moonlighting Game - An Experimental Study on Reciprocity and Retribution," Discussion Paper Serie B 415, University of Bonn, Germany.
  28. Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati & Matthias Sutter & Eline van der Heijden, 2006. "Leading by example with and without exclusion power in voluntary contribution experiments," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-35, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  29. Robert Moir, 1998. "A Monte Carlo Analysis of the Fisher Randomization Technique: Reviving Randomization for Experimental Economists," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 87-100, June.
  30. Andreoni, J., 1993. "Cooperation in Public Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," Working papers 9309, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  31. Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard, 1996. "Reward structures in public good experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 263-287, August.
  32. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
  33. Coats, Jennifer C. & Gronberg, Timothy J. & Grosskopf, Brit, 2009. "Simultaneous versus sequential public good provision and the role of refunds -- An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 326-335, February.
  34. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  35. Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
  36. Vesterlund, Lise, 2003. "The informational value of sequential fundraising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 627-657, March.
  37. Richard Ashley & Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel, 2010. "Motives for Giving: A Reanalysis of Two Classic Public Goods Experiments," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 15-26, July.
  38. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
  39. James Andreoni & William T. harbaugh & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "The Carrot or the Stick: Rewards, Punishments, and Cooperation," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2002-01, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 20 Aug 2002.
  40. R. Isaac & James Walker, 1998. "Nash as an Organizing Principle in the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(3), pages 191-206, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2602. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.