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Common Fate, Game Harmony and Contributions to Public Goods: Experimental Evidence


  • Luca Corazzini, Robert Sugden.


We experimentally study the effects of common fate on voluntary contributions to linear public goods. In each period, earnings are assigned to subjects according to the outcome of a lottery. We manipulate the level of common fate across treatments by varying the degree of harmony in the lottery structure. We observe higher contributions and stronger reciprocity in the most harmonious manipulation. Surprisingly, we find a positive relation between contributions and having experienced a favourable lottery outcome in the previous period, with the strength of this effect being inversely associated with the degree of harmony.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Corazzini, Robert Sugden., 2009. "Common Fate, Game Harmony and Contributions to Public Goods: Experimental Evidence," ISLA Working Papers 33, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:slp:islawp:islawp33

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    2. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
    3. Gary E Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2005. "Fair Procedures: Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1054-1076, October.
    4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    5. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
    7. Buckley, Edward & Croson, Rachel, 2006. "Income and wealth heterogeneity in the voluntary provision of linear public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 935-955, May.
    8. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-787, December.
    9. Tan, Jonathan H.W. & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2008. "Groups, cooperation and conflict in games," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-17, February.
    10. Michael Bacharach & Gerardo Guerra & Daniel Zizzo, 2007. "The Self-Fulfilling Property of Trust: An Experimental Study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(4), pages 349-388, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sergio Beraldo & Luigino Bruni, 2011. "The semantics of market and civil society: a bird’s eye view of Robert Sugden’s contribution to social sciences," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 58(1), pages 1-8, March.

    More about this item


    Public Goods; Common Fate; Laboratory Experiment.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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