Using Tontines to Finance Public Goods: Back to the Future?
The tontine, which is an interesting mixture of group annuity, group life insurance, and lottery, has a peculiar place in economic history. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it played a major role in raising funds to finance public goods in Europe, but today it is rarely encountered outside of murder mysteries. This study provides a formal model of individual contribution decisions under a tontine mechanism. We analyze the performance of tontines and compare them to another popular fundraising scheme used today by both government and charitable fundraisers: lotteries. Our major theoretical results are that (i) the optimal tontine for agents with identical valuations of the public good consists of all agents receiving a fixed "prize" amount in the first period equal to a percentage of their total contribution, (ii) contribution levels in the optimal tontine are identical to those of risk-neutral agents in an equivalently valued single prize lottery, (iii) contribution levels for the optimal tontine are independent of risk-aversion, and thereby outperform lotteries when agents are risk-averse, (iv) if agents are sufficiently asymmetric in their valuation of the public good, equilibrium contribution levels are larger under tontines than any lottery. In particular, one can obtain full participation in the tontine mechanism compared to only partial participation in a lottery. These insights highlight that the tontine institution can be a useful tool for fundraisers in the future.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jacob K. Goeree & Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal & John L. Turner, 2005. "How (Not) to Raise Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 897-926, August.
- John Morgan, 2000. "Financing Public Goods by Means of Lotteries," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 761-784.
- 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.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," IEW - Working Papers 004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Andreas Lange & John List & Michael Price, 2007.
"Using lotteries to finance public goods: theory and experimental evidence,"
Artefactual Field Experiments
00381, The Field Experiments Website.
- Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2007. "Using Lotteries To Finance Public Goods: Theory And Experimental Evidence," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(3), pages 901-927, 08.
- 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 464-77, June.
- Groves, Theodore & Ledyard, John O, 1977.
"Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the "Free Rider" Problem,"
Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 783-809, May.
- Theodore Groves & John Ledyard, 1976. "Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the 'Free Rider Problem'," Discussion Papers 144, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Andreoni, J. & Bergstrom, T., 1992.
"Do Government Subsidies Increase the Private Supply of Public Good,"
9207, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Andreoni, James & Bergstrom, Ted, 1996. "Do Government Subsidies Increase the Private Supply of Public Goods?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(3-4), pages 295-308, September.
- Andreoni, J. & Bergstrom, T., 1993. "Do Government Subsidies Increase the Private Supply of Public Goods?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 406, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Andreoni, J. & Bergstrom, T., 1992. "Do Government Subsidies Increase the Private Supply of Public Goods," Papers 92-11, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Walker, Mark, 1981. "A Simple Incentive Compatible Scheme for Attaining Lindahl Allocations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 65-71, January.
- Sugden, Robert, 1982. "On the Economics of Philanthropy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 341-50, June.
- Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
- Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-66, April.
- Maxim Engers & Brian McManus, 2007. "Charity Auctions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(3), pages 953-994, 08.
- Varian, Hal R., 1994. "Sequential contributions to public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 165-186, February.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10958. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.