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A few can do: Ethical behavior and the provision of public goods in an agent-based model


  • Pickhardt, Michael


In this paper I examine the influence which a population of different behavioral types may have on the provision of public goods. In particular, the population or subject pool consists of three behavioral types: myopic selfish agents, enlightened selfish agents and ethically motivated agents. I use a simple agent-based simulation approach that incorporates type interaction based on forward-looking conditional cooperation within a standard linear public goods model. Among other things, I show that under the given circumstances non-provision of public goods is a negligible issue, even if the share of ethically motivated types in the population is rather small.

Suggested Citation

  • Pickhardt, Michael, 2010. "A few can do: Ethical behavior and the provision of public goods in an agent-based model," CAWM Discussion Papers 37, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown-Kruse, Jamie & Hummels, David, 1993. "Gender effects in laboratory public goods contribution : Do individuals put their money where their mouth is?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 255-267, December.
    2. Duffy, John, 2006. "Agent-Based Models and Human Subject Experiments," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 949-1011 Elsevier.
    3. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
    4. Francesco Farina & Patrizia Sbriglia, 2008. "Conditional cooperation in a sequential move game," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 55(1), pages 149-165, April.
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    More about this item


    Linear Public Goods Games; Conditional Cooperation; Ethical Behavior; Agentbased Modeling; Pareto-optimality;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values


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