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On Sequential and Simultaneous Contributions under Incomplete Information


  • Parimal Bag

    () (National University of Singapore, Singapore.)

  • Santanu Roy

    () (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.)


Under incomplete information about (independent) private valuations of a public good, we establish sufficient conditions under which, despite the incentive to free ride on future contributors, the expected total amount of voluntary contributions is higher when agents contribute sequentially (observing prior contributions) rather than simultaneously. We establish this in a conventional framework with quasi-linear utility where agents care only about the total provision of the public good (rather than individual contribution levels) and there is no non-convexity in provision of the public good. We allow for arbitrary number of agents and fairly general distribution of types.

Suggested Citation

  • Parimal Bag & Santanu Roy, 2008. "On Sequential and Simultaneous Contributions under Incomplete Information," Departmental Working Papers 0805, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:smu:ecowpa:0805

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Groves, Theodore & Ledyard, John O, 1977. "Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the "Free Rider" Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 783-809, May.
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    6. Fershtman, Chaim & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1991. "Dynamic voluntary provision of public goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1057-1067, July.
    7. Gradstein, Mark, 1992. "Time Dynamics and Incomplete Information in the Private Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 581-597, June.
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    14. James Bessen & Eric Maskin, 2009. "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 611-635.
    15. ParimalKanti Bag & Santanu Roy, 2008. "Repeated Charitable Contributions under Incomplete Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 60-91, January.
    16. Menezes, Flavio M. & Monteiro, Paulo K. & Temimi, Akram, 2001. "Private provision of discrete public goods with incomplete information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 493-514, July.
    17. Neil Bruce, 1989. "Defence Expenditures by Countries in Allied and Adversarial Relationships," Working Papers 745, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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    19. Coats, Jennifer C. & Gronberg, Timothy J. & Grosskopf, Brit, 2009. "Simultaneous versus sequential public good provision and the role of refunds -- An experimental study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 326-335, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jack, B. Kelsey & Recalde, María P., 2015. "Leadership and the voluntary provision of public goods: Field evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 80-93.
    2. Russo, Giuseppe & Senatore, Luigi, 2012. "A note on contribution games with loss functions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 211-214.
    3. repec:spr:annopr:v:253:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2327-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ferrari, Giorgio & Riedel, Frank & Steg, Jan-Henrik, 2016. "Continuous-Time Public Good Contribution under Uncertainty," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 485, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    5. Matthew Ellman & Sjaak Hurkens, 2014. "Optimal Crowdfunding Design," Working Papers 14-21, NET Institute.
    6. Miriam Sinn, 2013. "Sequential Group Lending: A Mechanism to Raise the Repayment Rate in Microfinance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(318), pages 326-344, April.
    7. Giorgio Ferrari & Frank Riedel & Jan-Henrik Steg, 2013. "Continuous-Time Public Good Contribution under Uncertainty: A Stochastic Control Approach," Papers 1307.2849,, revised Oct 2015.
    8. Murat Yilmaz, 2010. "Auctioning a Discrete Public Good under Incomplete Information," Working Papers 2010/14, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:114-140 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Senatore, L, 2011. "Public Good Provision with Convex Costs," MPRA Paper 36984, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Sikdar, Shiva, 2015. "On efforts in teams with stereotypes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 203-207.

    More about this item


    Contribution games; public good; incomplete information.;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • L44 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Antitrust Policy and Public Enterprise, Nonprofit Institutions, and Professional Organizations

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