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Reciprocity Networks and the Participation Problem

  • Martin Dufwenberg
  • Amrish Patel

Reciprocity can be a powerful motivation for human behaviour. Scholars argue that it is relevant in the context of private provision of public goods. We examine whether reciprocity can resolve the associated coordination problem. The interaction of reciprocity with cost-sharing is critical. Neither cost-sharing nor reciprocity in isolation can solve the problem, but together they have that potential. We introduce new network notions of reciprocity relations to better understand this. Our analysis uncovers an intricate web of nuances that demonstrate the attainable yet elusive nature of a unique outcome.Keywords: Discrete public good, participation, reciprocity networks, coordination, cost-sharing JEL codes: C72, D03, H41.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 521.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:521
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  1. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 2491, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Makris, Miltiadis, 2009. "Private provision of discrete public goods," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 292-299, September.
  3. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Renaud Bourlès & Yann Bramoullé, 2013. "Altruism in Networks," AMSE Working Papers 1356, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Nov 2013.
  5. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1069-1078, May.
  6. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  7. Mobius, Markus & Do, Quoc-Anh & Leider, Stephen & Rosenblat, Tanya, 2009. "Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks," Scholarly Articles 3054685, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Ryusuke Shinohara, 2009. "The possibility of efficient provision of a public good in voluntary participation games," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 367-387, March.
  9. Rothenhäusler, Dominik & Schweizer, Nikolaus & Szech, Nora, 2013. "Institutions, shared guilt, and moral transgression," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2013-305, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  10. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  13. Rothenhäusler, Dominik & Schweizer, Nikolaus & Szech, Nora, 2013. "Institutions, shared guilt, and moral transgression," Working Paper Series in Economics 47, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  14. Michael A. Spencer & Stephen K. Swallow & Jason F. Shogren & John A. List, 2008. "Rebate Rules in Threshold Public Good Provision," NBER Working Papers 14559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
  16. Marks, Melanie & Croson, Rachel, 1998. "Alternative rebate rules in the provision of a threshold public good: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 195-220, February.
  17. repec:dgr:uvatin:20000011 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1984. "Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-193, July.
  19. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
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