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A Prize to Give for: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms

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Abstract

This paper investigates fund-raising mechanisms based on a prize as a way to overcome free riding in the private provision of public goods, under the assumptions of income heterogeneity and incomplete information about income levels. We compare experimentally the performance of a lottery, an all-pay auction and a benchmark voluntary contribution mechanism. We find that prize-based mechanisms perform better than voluntary contribution in terms of public good provision after accounting for the cost of the prize. Comparing the prize-based mechanisms, total contributions are significantly higher in the lottery than in the all-pay auction. Focusing on individual income types, the lottery outperforms voluntary contributions and the all-pay auction throughout the income distribution.

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  • Lucca Corazzini & Marco Faravelli & Lucca Stanca, 2007. "A Prize to Give for: An Experiment on Public Good Funding Mechanisms," ESE Discussion Papers 159, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:159
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chan, Kenneth S. & Mestelman, Stuart & Muller, R. Andrew, 2008. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    2. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-366, April.
    3. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
    4. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
    5. Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 2008. "Spiteful Behavior in Voluntary Contribution Mechanism Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    6. Arthur J.H.C. Schram & Sander Onderstal, 2009. "Bidding To Give: An Experimental Comparison Of Auctions For Charity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 431-457, May.
    7. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Milyo, Jeffrey, 2008. "Inequality and public good provision: An experimental analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1010-1028, June.
    8. Henrik Orzen, 2005. "Fundraising through Competition: Evidence from the Lab," Discussion Papers 2005-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    9. John Morgan, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 761-784.
    10. John Morgan & Martin Sefton, 2000. "Funding Public Goods with Lotteries: Experimental Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 785-810.
    11. Marco Faravelli, 2011. "The Important Thing Is Not (Always) Winning but Taking Part: Funding Public Goods with Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, February.
    12. Jacob K. Goeree & Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal & John L. Turner, 2005. "How (Not) to Raise Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 897-926, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    auctions; lotteries; public goods; laboratory experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

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