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Voluntary Contributions and Framing effect: Theory and Evidence


  • Jean-Christophe VERGNAUD


Overcontribution in experiments on voluntary contribution to a public good has not yet received a fully satisfactory explanation. In those experiments, subjects cooperate, in contradiction with the game-theoretic prediction. In contrast, in oligopoly-experiments and common pool resource experiments, the Nash equilibrium is usually observed. The externalities generated by the two types of experiments are of the opposite sign: in oligopoly and common pool resources experiments the subjects’ choices generate a negative externality, while in the public good experiment, the actions of the other subjects create a positive externality. In this paper we designed an experiment which allows us to compare the level of overcontribution of the two contexts. Our experiment shows that subjects in the positive context contribute (significantly) more to the public good than the subjects in the negative context. We design a model that relates the difference between the two levels of average contribution, to behavioral differences between two types of players. We provide an empirical characterization of the underlying behaviors

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Christophe VERGNAUD & Marc WILLINGER & Anthony ZIEGELMEYER, 1999. "Voluntary Contributions and Framing effect: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers of BETA 9907, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:9907

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ståle Navrud, 2001. "Valuing Health Impacts from Air Pollution in Europe," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 20(4), pages 305-329, December.
    2. Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "Social Choice Theory: A Re-examination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 53-89, January.
    3. Bente Halvorsen, 1996. "Ordering effects in contingent valuation surveys," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 8(4), pages 485-499, December.
    4. Hoehn, John P & Randall, Alan, 1989. "Too Many Proposals Pass the Benefit Cost Test," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 544-551, June.
    5. V. Kerry Smith, 1996. "Can Contingent Valuation Distinguish Economic Values for Different Public Goods?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(2), pages 139-151.
    6. Alberini, Anna & Cropper, Maureen & Fu, Tsu-Tan & Krupnick, Alan & Liu, Jin-Tan & Shaw, Daigee & Harrington, Winston, 1997. "Valuing Health Effects of Air Pollution in Developing Countries: The Case of Taiwan," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 107-126, October.
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    More about this item


    experimental economics; public goods;

    JEL classification:

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


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