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Altruism and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods

Author

Listed:
  • Dowling, M.
  • Hall, O.
  • Ma, L.
  • Sherstyuk, K.

Abstract

We study how people's predisposition towards altruism, as measured by tools developed by psychologists, affects their behaviour in a voluntary contributions public good environment. Earlier experiments provide evidence against the strong free rider hypothesis; however, contributions to the public good decrease with repetition. We investigate whether a high level of contributions can be sustained in groups of subjects who have been pre-selected on the basis of their altruistic inclinations. In the first stage of the experiment, each subject responds to a psychology questionnaire that measures various dimensions of one's personality. The subjects are then matched in groups according to their altruism scores, and engage in a voluntary contribution game. We consider whether the levels and dynamics of group contributions differ significantly between the groups with altruists and non-altruists. We find that subjects' altruism has a weak but positive effect on group behaviour in the public good game.

Suggested Citation

  • Dowling, M. & Hall, O. & Ma, L. & Sherstyuk, K., 2000. "Altruism and Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 760, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:760
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    File URL: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/wpapers-00-01/760.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bohm, Peter, 1972. "Estimating demand for public goods: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 111-130.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Katerina Sherstyuk & Oliver Hill & Malcolm Dowling & Leanne Ma, 2002. "Altruism and voluntary provision of public goods," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(31), pages 1-8.
    4. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-845, July.
    5. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    6. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    7. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Verhoogen, Eric, 2003. "Playing both roles in the trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-216, June.
    8. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-846, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Isabelle Vialle & Luis Santos-Pinto & Jean-Louis Rullière, 2011. "Self-Confidence and Teamwork : An Experimental Test," Working Papers 1126, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    2. James Tully, 2005. "Communication Networks, Hegemony, and Communicative Action," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0015, University of Hamburg, Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science.
    3. Katerina Sherstyuk & Oliver Hill & Malcolm Dowling & Leanne Ma, 2002. "Altruism and voluntary provision of public goods," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(31), pages 1-8.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2002:i:31:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Swope, Kurtis J. & Cadigan, John & Schmitt, Pamela M. & Shupp, Robert, 2008. "Personality preferences in laboratory economics experiments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 998-1009, June.
    6. Brañas Garza, Pablo & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz, 2010. "Unraveling Public Good Games: The Role of Priors," DFAEII Working Papers 2010-04, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    7. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Maria Paz Espinosa, 2011. "Unraveling Public Good Games," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-18, November.
    8. Alexis Belianin & Marco Novarese, 2005. "Trust, communication and equlibrium behaviour in public goods," Experimental 0506001, EconWPA.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    PUBLIC OWNERSHIP ; BEHAVIOUR ; GAMES;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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