IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Heterogeneous Reactions to Heterogeneity in Returns from Public Goods

  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Sabrina Teyssier
  • Simeon Schudy

In many cases individuals benefit differently from the provision of a public good. We study in a laboratory experiment how heterogeneity in returns and uncertainty affects unconditional and conditional contribution behavior in a linear public goods game. The elicitation of conditional contributions in combination with a within subject design allows us to investigate belief-independent and type-specific reactions to heterogeneity. We find that, on average, heterogeneity in returns decreases unconditional contributions but does not affects conditional contributions only weakly. Uncertainty in addition to heterogeneity reduces conditional contributions slightly. Individual reactions to heterogeneity differ systematically. Selfish subjects and one third of conditional cooperators do not react to heterogeneity whereas the reactions of the remaining conditional cooperators vary. A substantial part of heterogeneity in reactions can be explained by inequity aversion which accounts for different reference groups subjects compare to.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universit�t Konstanz in its series TWI Research Paper Series with number 73.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0073
Contact details of provider: Postal: Hauptstr. 90, CH-8280 Kreuzlingen 2
Phone: +41-71-677 05 10
Fax: +41-71-677 05 11
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dickinson, David L., 1998. "The voluntary contributions mechanism with uncertain group payoffs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 517-533, May.
  2. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Gerald Eisenkopf, 2007. "Learning and Peer Effects," TWI Research Paper Series 16, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universit�t Konstanz.
  4. Reuben, Ernesto & Riedl, Arno, 2007. "Public Goods Provision and Sanctioning in Priveleged Groups," Research Memorandum 028, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  5. Kenneth Chan & Stuart Mestelman & Robert Moir & R. Muller, 1999. "Heterogeneity and the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-30, August.
  6. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  7. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert & Hwang, Sung-Ha, 2009. "Strong reciprocity and team production: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 221-232, August.
  8. Fisher, Joseph, et al, 1995. " Heterogenous Demand for Public Goods: Behavior in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 249-66, December.
  9. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Nikiforakis, Nikos & Noussair, Charles N. & Wilkening, Tom, 2012. "Normative conflict and feuds: The limits of self-enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 797-807.
  11. Josef Falkinger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "A Simple Mechanism for the Efficient Provision of Public Goods - Experimental Evidence," IEW - Working Papers 003, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  13. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  14. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
  15. Cheung, Stephen L., 2011. "New Insights into Conditional Cooperation and Punishment from a Strategy Method Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5689, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Peter Bohm, 1972. "Estimating the demand for public goods: An experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00126, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. Gerlinde Fellner & Yoshio Iida & Sabine Kröger & Erika Seki, 2010. "Heterogeneous Productivity in Voluntary Public Good Provision: an Experimental Analysis," Cahiers de recherche 1025, CIRPEE.
  18. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  19. Annamaria Fiore & M. Vittoria Levati & Andrea Morone, 2006. "Voluntary contributions with imperfect information: An experimental study," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-30, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  20. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Voluntary Contribution Games: Efficient Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 351-66, April.
  21. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:103:y:1988:i:1:p:179-99 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  24. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  25. R. M. Isaac & J. M. Walker, 2010. "Group size effects in public goods provision: The voluntary contribution mechanism," Levine's Working Paper Archive 310, David K. Levine.
  26. Fangfang Tan, 2008. "Punishment in a Linear Public Good Game with Productivity Heterogeneity," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 269-293, September.
  27. Lata Gangadharan & Veronika Nemes, 2009. "Experimental Analysis Of Risk And Uncertainty In Provisioning Private And Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 146-164, 01.
  28. Christoph Engel & Sebastian Kube & Michael Kurschilgen, 2011. "Can we manage first impressions in cooperation problems? An experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_05, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised May 2014.
  29. Bohm, Peter, 1972. "Estimating demand for public goods: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 111-130.
  30. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  31. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0073. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gregor Govtvan)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.