Altruism and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods
We study how people's predisposition towards altruism, as measured by tools developed by psychologists, affects their behavior in a voluntary contributions public good experiment. Earlier experiments provide evidence against the strong free rider hypothesis; however, contributions to the public good decrease with repetition. We investigate whether a high level of contributions can be sustained in groups of subjects who have been pre-selected on the basis of their altruistic inclinations. In the first stage of the experiment, each subject responds to a psychology questionnaire that measures various dimensions of one's personality. The subjects are then matched in groups according to their altruism scores, and engage in a voluntary contribution game. We consider whether the levels and dynamics of group contributions differ significantly between the groups with altruists and non-altruists. We find that subjects' altruism has a weak but positive effect on group behavior in the public good game.
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