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Leadership and conditional cooperation in public good games: What difference does the game make?

  • Edward J Cartwright


  • Denise Lovett

We investigate experimentally whether the extent of conditional cooperation in public good games depends on the marginal return to the public good and type of game. The marginal return is varied from 0.2 to 0.4 to 0.8. The 'standard' game, in which three players contribute before a follower, is compared with a leader-follower game, in which one player leads and three follow. We find no strong evidence that the marginal return or type of game makes a difference to the extent of conditional cooperation. We also find no evidence that the type of game makes a difference to unconditional contributions. The level of marginal return does, however, have a strong effect on unconditional contributions. Our results highlight the critical role that can be played by leaders in a public good game.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 1324.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:1324
Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
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  1. Guth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Sutter, Matthias & van der Heijden, Eline, 2007. "Leading by example with and without exclusion power in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1023-1042, June.
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  10. Edward Cartwright & Amrish Patel, 2010. "Imitation and the Incentive to Contribute Early in a Sequential Public Good Game," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(4), pages 691-708, 08.
  11. Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2009. "Who Makes A Good Leader? Cooperativeness, Optimism And Leading-By-Example," Discussion Papers 2009-19, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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  13. Kamei, Kenju, 2012. "From locality to continent: A comment on the generalization of an experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 207-210.
  14. Keser, Claudia & van Winden, Frans, 2000. " Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
  15. Emrah Arbak & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2013. "Voluntary leadership: motivation and influence," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 635-662, March.
  16. Rivas, M. Fernanda & Sutter, Matthias, 2011. "The benefits of voluntary leadership in experimental public goods games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 176-178, August.
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