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Ideals should not be too ideal: Identity and public good contribution

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  • Fuhai HONG

    (Division of Economics, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological Univer- sity. Address: 14 Nanyang Drive, Singapore, 637332.)

Abstract

This paper incorporates identity into a model of voluntary public good contribution. An ideal of contributing to public goods divides players to di¤erent social categories: Players who identify with the ideal become insiders, obtaining identity utility but incurring disu- tility if their contributions depart from the ideal, while players who do not identify with the ideal remain as outsiders. We show that identity could increase public good contribution; the ideal that best resolves the free-riding problem in the public good game equals either the contribution level of the most altruistic player in the absence of the identity, or a level that makes the least altruistic player indi¤erent between becoming an insider and not, depending on the size of the group. These results have implications for social policymaking.

Suggested Citation

  • Fuhai HONG, 2014. "Ideals should not be too ideal: Identity and public good contribution," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1411, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:nan:wpaper:1411
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ideals; Identity; Public Goods; Social Categories;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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