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A Laboratory Test of Canadian Proposals for an Emission Trading Program


  • Stuart Mestelman
  • Rob Moir
  • Andrew Muller


We investigate the effects of heterogeneity, incomplete information and communication on aggregate contributions to a public good using the voluntary contribution mechanism in a nonlinear laboratory environment. One-dimensional heterogeneity (heterogeneity in income or preferences) and two-dimensional heterogeneity (heterogeneity in income and preferences) both increase voluntary contributions. The effect is greatest when information is incomplete in the sense that subjects do not know each other’s payoffs. Incomplete information also reduces contributions in the homogeneous case. Communication reverses the relative importance of one and two-dimensional heterogeneity in promoting cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart Mestelman & Rob Moir & Andrew Muller, 1998. "A Laboratory Test of Canadian Proposals for an Emission Trading Program," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 1998-03, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:mceelp:1998-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
    2. Warr, Peter G., 1982. "Pareto optimal redistribution and private charity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 131-138, October.
    3. Andreoni, James, 1993. "An Experimental Test of the Public-Goods Crowding-Out Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1317-1327, December.
    4. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    5. Kenneth S. Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Rob Moir & R. Andrew Muller Moir, 1996. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods under Varying Income Distributions," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(1), pages 54-69, February.
    6. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    7. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1986. "On the Voluntary and Involuntary Provision of Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 789-793, September.
    8. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226110486.
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    Cited by:

    1. R. Andrew Muller & Stuart Mestelman, 1998. "What have we learned from emissions trading experiments?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4-5), pages 225-238.
    2. Lata Gangadharan & Rachel Croson & Alex Farrell, 2013. "Investment decisions and emissions reductions: results from experiments in emissions trading," Chapters,in: Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, chapter 8, pages 233-264 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2006. "Emissions variability in tradable permit markets with imperfect enforcement and banking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 199-216, October.
    4. Stuart Mestelman, 2000. "Environmental Policy: Lessons from the Laboratory," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 2000-01, McMaster University.

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