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Disposition, History and Contributions in Public Goods Experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Anna Gunnthorsdottir

    (Australian Graduate School of Management)

  • Daniel Houser

    (George Mason University)

  • Kevin McCabe

    (George Mason University)

  • Holly Ameden

    (Berkeley)

Abstract

Private incentives to invest in a public good are modeled as self- interested reciprocity where individuals use reputational scoring rules to determine their optimal level of investment. The model predicts that the disposition of any subject to cooperate is revealed by their first period investment in a voluntary contribution experiment, and that grouping cooperative subjects together will improve, and in some circumstances sustain, their private investment in the public good. Actual investment behavior is then studied with laboratory experiments that compare the contributions of subjects randomly reassigned into groups to contributions under a mechanism that sorts subjects into groups based on their individual investment decisions. The sorting mechanism helps to keep subjects with cooperative dispositions together and leads to statistically significant increases, relative to the random matching condition, in cooperators’ investments in the public good.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Gunnthorsdottir & Daniel Houser & Kevin McCabe & Holly Ameden, 2004. "Disposition, History and Contributions in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental 0401001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0401001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public goods; experiments; cooperation; type classification; individual differences;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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