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Growth and Inequality in Public Good Games

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  • Simon Gaechter

    () (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Friederike Mengel

    () (University of Essex and Maastricht University)

  • Elias Tsakas

    (Maastricht University)

  • Alexander Vostroknutov

    (Maastricht University and European University at St.Petersburg)

Abstract

In a novel experimental design we study public good games with dynamic interdependencies. More precisely, each agent's income at the end of a period serves as her endowment in the following period. In this setting growth and inequality arise endogenously allowing us to address new questions regarding their interplay and effect on cooperation levels. In stark contrast to standard public good experiments, we find that contributions are increasing over time even in the absence of punishment possibilities. In both treatments (with and w/o punishment) inequality and group income are positively correlated for poor groups (below median income), but negatively correlated for rich groups. There is very strong path dependence: inequality in early periods is strongly negatively correlated with group income in later periods. These results give new insights into why people cooperate and should make us rethink previous results from the literature on repeated public good games regarding the decay of cooperation in the absence of punishment.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Gaechter & Friederike Mengel & Elias Tsakas & Alexander Vostroknutov, 2014. "Growth and Inequality in Public Good Games," Discussion Papers 2014-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2014-10
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    Cited by:

    1. Annarita COLASANTE & Alberto RUSSO, 2014. "The Impact of Inequality on Cooperation: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 401, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    2. Robin Maialeh, 2016. "Fundamentální koncept nerovnosti v perspektivě paretovské ekonomie [A Fundamental Concept of Inequality in the Perspective of Paretian Economics]," Politická ekonomie, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2016(8), pages 973-987.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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