IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Choice overload, coordination and inequality: three hurdles to the effectiveness of the compensation mechanism?

  • Estelle Midler
  • Charles Figuières
  • Marc Willinger

In this paper we test the effectiveness of a compensation mechanism when a negative externality is produced. It allows agents suffering from the negative externality to compensate those who reduce its production. Transfers are implemented via a two-stage design which is an adaptation of Varian’s mechanism. It has been previously tested in the lab with different types of games, and its effectiveness turns out to depend on the experiment, for unclear reasons which we try to decipher in this paper. Three possible explanations, choice overload, mere coordination and inequality, are proposed and studied. We show that, other things equal, the larger the size of the strategy space, the lower the mechanism’s efficiency (choice overload effect). Perhaps surprisingly, the data show that the appearance of additional equilibria does not jeopardize effectiveness (no mere coordination effect). Finally, inequality of outcomes plays a key role (fairness effect).

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2013
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 13-01.

in new window

Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision: Feb 2013
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:13-01
Contact details of provider: Postal: Avenue Raymond Dugrand, CS 79606, 34960 Montpellier Cedex 2
Phone: +33-467-158-568
Fax: +33-467-158-467
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hal R. Varian, 1994. "A Solution to the Problem of Externalities when Agents are Well-Informed}," Microeconomics 9401003, EconWPA.
  2. Bracht, Juergen & Figuières, Charles & Ratto, Marisa, 2008. "Relative performance of two simple incentive mechanisms in a public goods experiment," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4809, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0w82b6nm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Cooper, David J. & Van Huyck, John B., 2003. "Evidence on the equivalence of the strategic and extensive form representation of games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 290-308, June.
  5. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  6. Yan Chen & Robert S. Gazzale, 2004. "When Does Learning in Games Generate Convergence to Nash Equilibria? The Role of Supermodularity in an Experimental Setting," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-02, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001267, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Iyengar, Sheena S. & Kamenica, Emir, 2010. "Choice proliferation, simplicity seeking, and asset allocation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 530-539, August.
  10. Danziger, Leif & Schnytzer, Adi, 1991. "Implementing the Lindahl voluntary-exchange mechanism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-64, April.
  11. Yasuyo Hamaguchi & Satoshi Mitani & Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2004. "Does the Varian Mechanism Work? -Emissions Trading as an Example," Discussion papers 04009, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:13-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Patricia Modat)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.