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Are cooperators effciency- or fair-minded? Evidence from a public goods experiment

Author

Listed:
  • M. Vittoria Levati

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, Germany)

  • Matteo Ploner

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena, Germany, and University of Trento, Italy)

  • Stefan Traub

    () (Department of Business and Economics, University of Bremen, Germany)

Abstract

We use a two-person public goods experiment to distinguish between efficiency and fairness as possible motivations for cooperative behavior. Asymmetric marginal per capita returns allow only the high-productivity player to increase group payoffs when contributing positive amounts. Asymmetric contributions, however, yield unequal individual payoffs. To assess a priori cooperative preferences, we measure individual 'value-orientations' by means of the decomposed game technique. Overall, our results indicate that fairness (or inequality aversion) is more influential than efficiency in driving behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Vittoria Levati & Matteo Ploner & Stefan Traub, 2007. "Are cooperators effciency- or fair-minded? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-067, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2007-067
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    Cited by:

    1. Fellner, Gerlinde & Lünser, Gabriele K., 2014. "Cooperation in local and global groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 364-373.
    2. Fellner, Gerlinde & Lünser, Gabriele K., 2008. "Cooperation in local and global groups," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 256, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Astrid Dannenberg & Bodo Sturm & Carsten Vogt, 2010. "Do Equity Preferences Matter for Climate Negotiators? An Experimental Investigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 91-109, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods experiments; Conditional cooperation; Fairness; Efficiency; Value orientations;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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