IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mpg/wpaper/2017_23.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Experimental Social Planners: Good Natured, but Overly Optimistic

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Engel

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

  • Svenja Hippel

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

Abstract

Public goods are dealt with in two literatures that neglect each other. Mechanism design advises a social planner that expects individuals to misrepresent their valuations. Experiments study the provision of the good when preferences might be non-standard. We introduce the problem of the mechanism design literature into a public good experiment. Valuations for the good are heterogeneous. To each group we add a participant with power to impose a contribution scheme. We study four settings: the authority has no personal interest and (1) valuations are common knowledge or (2) active participants may misrepresent their types; the authority has a personal interest (3) and must decide before learning her own valuation or (4) knows her own valuation. Disinterested social planners predominantly choose a payment rule that gives every group member the same ?nal payoff, even if misrepresentation is possible. Authorities are overly optimistic about truth telling. Interested social planners abuse their power, except if the opportunity cost of a more balanced rule is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Engel & Svenja Hippel, 2017. "Experimental Social Planners: Good Natured, but Overly Optimistic," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2017_23, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2017_23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.coll.mpg.de/pdf_dat/2017_23online.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2002. "Economic inequality and burden-sharing in the provision of local environmental quality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 379-395, March.
    3. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
    4. Erat, Sanjiv, 2013. "Avoiding lying: The case of delegated deception," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 273-278.
    5. Alexander W. Cappelen & James Konow & Erik ?. S?rensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2013. "Just Luck: An Experimental Study of Risk-Taking and Fairness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1398-1413, June.
    6. Cornes,Richard & Sandler,Todd, 1996. "The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521477185, December.
    7. M. Vittoria Levati & Andrea Morone, 2013. "Voluntary Contributions with Risky and Uncertain Marginal Returns: The Importance of the Parameter Values," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(5), pages 736-744, October.
    8. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
    9. Fabrice Etilé & Pierre Combris & Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy & Sabrina Teyssier, 2014. "Heterogeneous reactions to heterogeneity in returns from public goods," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) hal-02076872, HAL.
    10. R. Isaac & James Walker, 1998. "Nash as an Organizing Principle in the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods: Experimental Evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(3), pages 191-206, December.
    11. Christoph Engel & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2017. "You Are in Charge: Experimentally Testing the Motivating Power of Holding a Judicial Office," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-50.
    12. Robbett, Andrea, 2019. "Just ask? Preference revelation and lying in a public goods experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 118-135.
    13. Paolo Crosetto & Ori Weisel & Fabian Winter, 2012. "A flexible z-Tree implementation of the Social Value Orientation Slider Measure (Murphy et al. 2011) - Manual -," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-062, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    14. Heiko Rauhut, 2013. "Beliefs about Lying and Spreading of Dishonesty: Undetected Lies and Their Constructive and Destructive Social Dynamics in Dice Experiments," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(11), pages 1-8, November.
    15. Kube, Sebastian & Schaube, Sebastian & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Khachatryan, Elina, 2015. "Institution formation and cooperation with heterogeneous agents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 248-268.
    16. Traub, Stefan & Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2009. "An experimental study on individual choice, social welfare, and social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 385-400, May.
    17. Ingrid Rohde & Kirsten Rohde, 2011. "Risk attitudes in a social context," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 205-225, December.
    18. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Normann, Hans Theo, 2011. "A within-subject analysis of other-regarding preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 321-338, June.
    19. 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.
    20. Michael Mandler, 2004. "Status quo maintenance reconsidered: changing or incomplete preferences?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(499), pages 518-535, November.
    21. Ortoleva, Pietro, 2010. "Status quo bias, multiple priors and uncertainty aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 411-424, July.
    22. Reuben, Ernesto & Riedl, Arno, 2013. "Enforcement of contribution norms in public good games with heterogeneous populations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 122-137.
    23. Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy & Sabrina Teyssier, 2014. "Heterogeneous reactions to heterogeneity in returns from public goods," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 195-217, June.
    24. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    25. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
    26. Bettina Rockenbach & Irenaeus Wolff, 2016. "Designing Institutions for Social Dilemmas," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(3), pages 316-336, August.
    27. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    28. Abeler, Johannes & Becker, Anke & Falk, Armin, 2014. "Representative evidence on lying costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 96-104.
    29. Healy, Paul J., 2006. "Learning dynamics for mechanism design: An experimental comparison of public goods mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 114-149, July.
    30. M. Levati & Andrea Morone & Annamaria Fiore, 2009. "Voluntary contributions with imperfect information: An experimental study," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(1), pages 199-216, January.
    31. Ernesto Reuben & Arno Riedl, 2009. "Enforcement of Contribution Norms in Public Good Games with Heterogeneous Populations," CESifo Working Paper Series 2725, CESifo.
    32. Güth, Werner & Koukoumelis, Anastasios & Levati, M. Vittoria & Ploner, Matteo, 2014. "Providing revenue-generating projects under a fair mechanism: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 410-419.
    33. Robert Gampfer, 2014. "Do individuals care about fairness in burden sharing for climate change mitigation? Evidence from a lab experiment," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 65-77, May.
    34. Mark T. Le Quement & Isabel Marcin, 2016. "Communication and voting in heterogeneous committees: An experimental study," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_05, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Oct 2016.
    35. Bock, Olaf & Baetge, Ingmar & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2014. "hroot: Hamburg Registration and Organization Online Tool," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 117-120.
    36. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    37. Gneezy, Uri & Rockenbach, Bettina & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2013. "Measuring lying aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 293-300.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Good; Social Planner; Truthtelling; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2017_23. 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: (Marc Martin). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/mppggde.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.