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Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis


  • Jennifer Zelmer


The objective of this paper is to use meta-analysis techniques to assess the impact of various factors on the extent of cooperation in standard linear public goods experiments using the voluntary contributions mechanism. Potentially relevant experiments were identified through searches of EconLit, the Internet Documents in Economics Access Service (IDEAS), and a survey article. A total of 349 potentially relevant studies were identified. Of these, 28 (representing a total of 711 groups of participants) met the inclusion criteria. Data were abstracted from these studies using a standardized protocol. Results were analyzed using weighted ordinary least squares. Average group efficiency was the dependent variable. The major results are that: (1) The marginal per capita return, communication, constant group composition over the session ("partners"), positive framing, and the use of children as subjects had a positive and significant effect (p

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Zelmer, 2001. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 361, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:qseprr:361

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald Lee & Jonathan Skinner, 1999. "Will Aging Baby Boomers Bust the Federal Budget?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 117-140, Winter.
    2. Denton, Frank T. & Gafni, Amiram & Spencer, Byron G., 1995. "The SHARP way to plan health care services: A description of the system and some illustrative applications in nursing human resource planning," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 125-137, June.
    3. Lee, Ronald & Tuljapurkar, Shripad, 1998. "Uncertain Demographic Futures and Social Security Finances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 237-241, May.
    4. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1999. "Population Aging and Its Economic Costs: A Survey of the Issues and Evidence," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 1, McMaster University.
    5. Ronald Lee & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 1997. "Death and Taxes: Longer life, consumption, and social security," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 67-81, February.
    6. Ronald Lee & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 1998. "Stochastic Forecasts for Social Security," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 393-428 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Frank T. Denton & Amiram Gafni & Byron G. Spencer, 2001. "Population Change and the Requirements for Physicians: The Case of Ontario," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(4), pages 469-485, December.
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    More about this item


    meta-analysis; public goods; voluntary contribution; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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