Group size effects in public goods provision: The voluntary contribution mechanism
This paper examines the relationship between variations in group size and "free-riding" behavior in the voluntary provisi on of public goods. The authors examine experimentally two pertinent concepts: the marginal return to an individual from contributions to the public good, and the actual number of members in the group. The r esults strongly support a hypothesis that increasing group size leads to a reduction in allocative efficiency when accompanied by a decrea se in marginal return from the public good (as from crowding or an as sociation of large groups with imperceptibility of marginal benefits). The results do not support a pure numbers-in-the-group effect. Copyright 1988, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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