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The Value of Non-Binding Announcements in Public Goods Experiments: some Theory and Experimental Evidence

  • Markwardt, Gunther
  • Dittrich, Marcus
  • Berlemann, Michael

In this paper we present three simple theoretical models to explain the influence of the possibility to make non-binding announcements on future investment behaviour in public good settings. Our models build on the idea that voluntary contributions to the supply of a public good might be motivated by some form of joy of giving. We show that the possibility to make non-binding announcements has a positive effect on cooperative behaviour, especially if individual announcements and factual investments are communicated to the players after each round. We also show that this result holds true even though the players have an incentive to overstate their true degrees of cooperativeness. Altogether, our theoretical considerations point in the direction that revealing as much information on individual intentions and factual behaviour as possible enhances cooperative behaviour. These conclusions are broadly confirmed by the results of a series of classroom experiments we present.

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Paper provided by Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics in its series Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 03/04.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:0304
Contact details of provider: Postal: 01062 Dresden
Phone: ++49 351 463 2196
Fax: ++49 351 463 7739
Web page: http://www.tu-dresden.de/wiwi/
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  1. Ledyard, John O., . "Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research," Working Papers 861, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
  5. Isaac, R. Mark & McCue, Kenneth F. & Plott, Charles R., . "Public Goods Provision in an Experimental Environment," Working Papers 428, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Brosig, Jeannette, 2002. "Identifying cooperative behavior: some experimental results in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 275-290, March.
  7. 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.
  8. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, . "A Theory of Reciprocity," IEW - Working Papers 006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "The Effect of Communication Media on Cooperation," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 217-241, 05.
  10. Berlemann, Michael, 2003. "The effect of signalling and beliefs on the voluntary provision of public goods," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 10/03, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Chan, Kenneth S. & Godby, Rob & Mestelman, Stuart & Andrew Muller, R., 2002. "Crowding-out voluntary contributions to public goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 305-317, July.
  13. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  14. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  15. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
  16. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  17. McCloskey, Donald N, 1985. "The Loss Function Has Been Mislaid: The Rhetoric of Significance Tests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 201-05, May.
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