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Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment

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  • Jürgen Fleiß

    () (Institute of Statistics and Operations Research, Karl-Franzens-University Graz)

  • Stefan Palan

    () (Institute of Banking and Finance, Karl-Franzens-University Graz)

Abstract

We experimentally investigate whether human subjects are willing to give up individual freedom in return for the benefits of improved coordination. We conduct a modified iterated public goods game in which subjects in each period first decide which of two groups to join. One group employs a voluntary contribution mechanism, the other group an allocator contribution mechanism. The setup of the allocator mechanism differs between two treatments. In the coordinator treatment the randomly selected allocator can set a uniform contribution for all group members including herself. In the dictator treatment the allocator can choose different contributions for herself and all other group members. We find that subjects willingly submit to authority in both treatments, even when competing with a voluntary contribution mechanism. The allocator groups achieve strikingly high contribution levels in both treatments.

Suggested Citation

  • Jürgen Fleiß & Stefan Palan, 2012. "Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment," Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences 2012-03, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
  • Handle: RePEc:grz:wpsses:2012-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin G. Kocher & Fanagfang Tan & Jing Yu, 2014. "Providing global public goods: Electoral delegation and cooperation," QuBE Working Papers 027, QUT Business School.
    2. Jason Shachat & J. Todd Swarthout, 2013. "Auctioning the Right to Play Ultimatum Games and the Impact on Equilibrium Selection," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-16, November.
    3. Otto, Philipp E. & Bolle, Friedel, 2016. "The advantage of hierarchy: Inducing responsibility and selecting ability?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 49-57.
    4. Jürgen Fleiß, 2015. "Merit norms in the ultimatum game: an experimental study of the effect of merit on individual behavior and aggregate outcomes," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 23(2), pages 389-406, June.
    5. Fredrik Carlsson & Mitesh Kataria & Elina Lampi & Maria Vittoria Levati, 2015. "Doing good with other people’s money: an experiment on people's (un)willingness to grant others the freedom to choose," Working Papers 08/2015, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    6. Philipp E. Otto & Friedel Bolle, 2016. "Organizational power: Should remuneration heterogeneity mirror hierarchy?," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 20(3), pages 187-205, September.
    7. Correa Romar, 2014. "Mathematical Foci," Mathematical Economics Letters, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1-2), pages 1-7, August.
    8. repec:wyi:journl:002215 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Marco Faillo & Federico Fornasari & Luigi Mittone, 2016. "Tell Me How to Rule: Leadership, Delegation, and Voice in Cooperation," CEEL Working Papers 1604, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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