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The Dynamics of Individual Preferences in Repeated Public Good Experiments

Author

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  • Markus Sass

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Joachim Weimann

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

We investigate the stability of individual behavior in a repeated public good experiment over time by reinviting subjects back to the lab up to four times in one week intervals. We exclude effects due to learning about others' behavior and reputation building by employing a non-learning and non-reputation environment: subjects are neither told nor paid their earnings until the very end of their participation and thus deprived of any feedback information and strategic possibilities to signal their intentions. This experimental design thus leaves unstable preferences as the most likely source for unstable behavior. We observe that, in the first wave of the experiment, subjects contribute to the public good in accordance to other-regarding preferences, but become more selfish in the latter waves of the experiment and consequently contributions to the public good decrease over time. The decline is mainly caused by initially conditional cooperators who turn into free riders over the course of the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Sass & Joachim Weimann, 2012. "The Dynamics of Individual Preferences in Repeated Public Good Experiments," FEMM Working Papers 120002, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:120002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Chuang, Yating & Schechter, Laura, 2015. "Stability of experimental and survey measures of risk, time, and social preferences: A review and some new results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 151-170.
    3. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2014. "Exclude the Bad Actors or Learn About The Group," Economics Discussion Papers 10010, University of Essex, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Individual preferences; consistency; stability; experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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