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Computational rationality and voluntary provision of public goods: an agent-based simulation model

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  • M. Raimondi

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Abstract

The issue of the cooperation among private agents in realising collective goods has always raised problems concerning the basic nature of individual behaviour as well as the more traditional economic problems. The Computational Economics literature on public goods provision can be useful to study the possibility of cooperation under alternative sets of assumptions concerning the nature of individual rationality and the kind of interactions between individuals. In this work I will use an agent-based simulation model to study the evolution of cooperation among private agents taking part in a collective project: a high number of agents, characterised by computational rationality, defined as the capacity to calculate and evaluate their own immediate payoffs perfectly and without errors, interact to producing a public good. The results show that when the agents’ behaviour is not influenced either by expectations of others’ behaviour or by social and relational characteristics, they opt to contribute to the public good to an almost socially optimal extent, even where there is no big difference between the rates of return on the private and the public investment.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Raimondi, 2009. "Computational rationality and voluntary provision of public goods: an agent-based simulation model," Economics Department Working Papers 2009-EP02, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
  • Handle: RePEc:par:dipeco:2009-ep02
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    Keywords

    Computational Economics; Agent-based models; Social Dilemmas; Collective Action; Public Goods;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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