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Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment

  • Jürgen Fleiß

    ()

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

  • Stefan Palan

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://static.uni-graz.at/fileadmin/sowi/Working_Paper/2012-03_Fleiss_Palan.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz in its series Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences with number 2012-03.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 30 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Fleiß, J., Palan, S., “Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment”, Games 4(4), 2013, 584-607, DOI: 10.3390/g4040584
Handle: RePEc:grz:wpsses:2012-03
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