Fundamental Difficulties in the Provision of Public Goods: 'A Solution to the Free-Rider Problem' Twenty Years After
Groves-Ledyard (1977) constructed a mechanism attaining Pareto efficient allocations in the presence of public goods. After this path-breaking paper, many mechanisms have been proposed to attain desirable allocations with public goods. Thus, economists have thought that the free-rider problem is solved, in theory. Our view to this problem is not so optimistic. Rather, we propose fundamental impossibility theorems with public goods. In the previous mechanism design, it was implicitly assumed that every agent must participate in the mechanism that the designer provides.
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