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Weak Moral Motivation Leads to the Decline of Voluntary Contributions

Author

Listed:
  • Charles Figuieres

    () (LAMETA - Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - Montpellier SupAgro - Centre international d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques - INRA Montpellier - Institut national de la recherche agronomique [Montpellier] - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)

  • David Masclet

    () (Economie industrielle et économie comportementale - CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marc Willinger

    () (LAMETA - Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - Montpellier SupAgro - Centre international d'études supérieures en sciences agronomiques - INRA Montpellier - Institut national de la recherche agronomique [Montpellier] - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier, IUF - Institut Universitaire de France - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche)

Abstract

We develop a model that accounts for the decay of the average contribution observed in experiments on voluntary contributions to a public good. The novel idea is that people's moral motivation is "weak." Their judgment about the right contribution depends on observed contributions by group members and on an intrinsic "moral ideal." We show that the assumption of weakly morally motivated agents leads to the decline of the average contribution over time. The model is compatible with persistence of overcontributions, variability of contributions (across and within individuals), the "restart effect" and the observation that the decay in contributions is slower in longer games. Furthermore, it offers a rationale for conditional cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Figuieres & David Masclet & Marc Willinger, 2013. "Weak Moral Motivation Leads to the Decline of Voluntary Contributions," Post-Print halshs-00969247, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00969247
    DOI: 10.1111/jpet.12036
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00969247
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny E. Wollbrant, 2017. "Strong, bold, and kind: self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 44-69, March.
    2. Benjamin Ouvrard & Sandrine Spaeter, 2016. "Environmental Incentives: Nudge or Tax?," Working Papers of BETA 2016-23, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Kene Boun My & Benjamin Ouvrard, 2017. "Nudge and Tax in an Environmental Public Goods Experiment: Does Environmental Sensitivity Matter?," Working Papers of BETA 2017-06, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Dickinson, David L. & Masclet, David & Peterle, Emmanuel, 2018. "Discrimination as favoritism: The private benefits and social costs of in-group favoritism in an experimental labor market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 220-236.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Good; contribution; game thoery; conditional cooperation;

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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