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Equilibrium Selection and Public Good Provision

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  • David P. Myatt
  • Chris Wallace

Abstract

Collective action problems arise in a variety of situations. The economic theory of public good provision raises a number of important questions. Who contributes to the public good, and who free rides? How might a social planner exploit the interdependence of decision-making to encourage contributions? Under what conditions will such actions result in public good provision? Using a simple game theoretic framework and recent results from the study of equilibrium selection, this paper attempts to answer some of these questions. Under reasonable assumptions of asymmetry and less than complete information, the more efficient agent will contribute. Contributions can be elicited by `integrating` the production process when agents are sufficiently emph{optimistic} about the success of the project. When this is not the case, the social planner may be better off `separating` the project so that individual contributions are independent of each other.

Suggested Citation

  • David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "Equilibrium Selection and Public Good Provision," Economics Series Working Papers 103, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:103
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper103.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, January.
    2. Leslie M. Marx & Steven A. Matthews, 2000. "Dynamic Voluntary Contribution to a Public Project," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 327-358.
    3. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-597, June.
    4. Carlsson, Hans & van Damme, Eric, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 989-1018, September.
    5. Eduardo Ley, 1996. "On the private provision of public goods: a diagrammatic exposition," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 20(1), pages 105-123, January.
    6. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
    7. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
    8. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    9. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    10. Varian, Hal R., 1994. "Sequential contributions to public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 165-186, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bitzer, Jürgen & Geishecker, Ingo, 2010. "Who contributes voluntarily to OSS? An investigation among German IT employees," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 165-172, February.
    2. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2007. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 160-169, March.
    3. Pekka Sääskilahti, 2016. "Buying Decision Coordination and Monopoly Pricing of Network Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 313-333, April.
    4. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2003. "Evolution in Teams," Economics Series Working Papers 177, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
    6. Bitzer, Jürgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schröder, Philipp J.H., 2006. "Intrinsic Motivation versus Signaling in Open Source Software Development," Working Papers 06-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    global games; public good provision; separation and integration;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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