IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zur/iewwpx/261.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods

Author

Listed:
  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Simon G�chter

Abstract

We provide a direct test of the role of social preferences in voluntary cooperation. We elicit individuals� cooperation preference in one experiment and make a point prediction about the contribution to a repeated public good. This allows for a novel test as to whether there are "types" of players who behave consistently with their elicited preferences. We find clear-cut evidence for the existence of "types". People who express free rider preferences show the most systematic deviation from the predicted contributions, because they contribute in the first half of the experiment. We also show that the interaction of heterogeneous types explains a large part of the dynamics of free riding.

Suggested Citation

  • Urs Fischbacher & Simon G�chter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:261
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/52218/1/iewwp261.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rachel T. A. Croson, 2007. "Theories Of Commitment, Altruism And Reciprocity: Evidence From Linear Public Goods Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 199-216, April.
    2. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Do People Behave in Experiments as in the Field? � Evidence from Donations," IEW - Working Papers 248, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Ashraf, Nava & Bohnet, Iris & Piankov, Nikita, 2003. "Is Trust a Bad Investment?," Working Paper Series rwp03-047, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Reciprocity, Self-Interest and the Welfare State," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 26, pages 33-53.
    5. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    6. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
    7. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-846, December.
    8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    9. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2011. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence From Fishermen In Toyama Bay," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 612-630, April.
    10. Neugebauer, Tibor & Perote, Javier & Schmidt, Ulrich & Loos, Malte, 2009. "Selfish-biased conditional cooperation: On the decline of contributions in repeated public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 52-60, February.
    11. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
    12. Claudia Keser & Frans Van Winden, 2000. "Conditional Cooperation and Voluntary Contributions to Public Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 23-39, March.
    13. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
    14. Ones, Umut & Putterman, Louis, 2007. "The ecology of collective action: A public goods and sanctions experiment with controlled group formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 495-521, April.
    15. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
    16. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "The nature of human altruism," Nature, Nature, vol. 425(6960), pages 785-791, October.
    17. Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati & Matthias Sutter & Eline van der Heijden, 2004. "Leadership and cooperation in public goods experiments," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-29, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    18. Laury, Susan K. & Walker, James M. & Williams, Arlington W., 1995. "Anonymity and the voluntary provision of public goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 365-380, August.
    19. Nicholas Bardsley & Peter Moffatt, 2007. "The Experimetrics of Public Goods: Inferring Motivations from Contributions," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 161-193, March.
    20. van Dijk, Frans & Sonnemans, Joep & van Winden, Frans, 2002. "Social ties in a public good experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 275-299, August.
    21. Croson, Rachel T. A., 1996. "Partners and strangers revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 25-32, October.
    22. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, "undated". "Clean Evidence on Peer Pressure," IEW - Working Papers 144, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    23. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A. & Laury, Susan K., 2002. "Private costs and public benefits: unraveling the effects of altruism and noisy behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 255-276, February.
    24. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    25. Park, Eun-Soo, 2000. "Warm-glow versus cold-prickle: a further experimental study of framing effects on free-riding," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 405-421, December.
    26. Armin Falk, "undated". "Charitable Giving as a Gift Exchange - Evidence from a Field Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 168, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    27. Muller, Laurent & Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard & Vesterlund, Lise, 2008. "Strategic behavior and learning in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 782-793, September.
    28. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    29. Charles N. Noussair & Charles R. Plott & Raymond G. Riezman, 2013. "An Experimental Investigation of the Patterns of International Trade," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Raymond Riezman (ed.), International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 17, pages 299-328, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    30. Gunnthorsdottir, Anna & Houser, Daniel & McCabe, Kevin, 2007. "Disposition, history and contributions in public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 304-315, February.
    31. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "Punishing free-riders: How group size affects mutual monitoring and the provision of public goods," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 31-51, July.
    32. Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur & Offerman, Theo, 1999. "Strategic behavior in public good games: when partners drift apart," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 35-41, January.
    33. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
    34. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E., 1996. "Altuism, reputation and noise in linear public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 409-427, September.
    35. Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-787, December.
    36. Jan Potters & Martin Sefton & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games: an experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 169-182, October.
    37. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    38. Lars P. Feld & Jean‐Robert Tyran, 2002. "Tax Evasion and Voting: An Experimental Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 197-221, May.
    39. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2000. "The False Consensus Effect Disappears if Representative Information and Monetary Incentives Are Given," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(3), pages 241-260, December.
    40. Richard Ashley & Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel, 2010. "Motives for Giving: A Reanalysis of Two Classic Public Goods Experiments," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 77(1), pages 15-26, July.
    41. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    42. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "An Experimental Bribery Game," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 428-454, October.
    43. R. Isaac & James Walker & Susan Thomas, 1984. "Divergent evidence on free riding: An experimental examination of possible explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 113-149, January.
    44. Daniel Houser & Robert Kurzban, 2002. "Revisiting Kindness and Confusion in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1062-1069, September.
    45. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Voting when money and morals conflict: an experimental test of expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1645-1664, July.
    46. George Loewenstein, 2000. "Emotions in Economic Theory and Economic Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 426-432, May.
    47. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-845, July.
    48. Brandts, Jordi & Schram, Arthur, 2001. "Cooperation and noise in public goods experiments: applying the contribution function approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 399-427, February.
    49. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    50. Armin Falk, 2004. "Charitable Giving as a Gift Exchange – Evidence from a Field Experiment (new title: Gift-Exchange in the Field)," CESifo Working Paper Series 1218, CESifo.
    51. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
    52. 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 464-477, June.
    53. Feld, Lars P & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2002. "Tax Evasion and Voting: An Experimental Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 197-222.
    54. Croson, Rachel T. A., 2000. "Thinking like a game theorist: factors affecting the frequency of equilibrium play," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 299-314, March.
    55. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "In a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00243, The Field Experiments Website.
    56. Andereoni, J., 1988. "Why Free Ride? Strategies And Learning In Public Goods Experiments," Working papers 375, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    57. Jeannette Brosig & Joachim Weimann & Chun-Lei Yang, 2003. "The Hot Versus Cold Effect in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Urs Fischbacher & Simon G�chter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    3. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences And The Dynamics Of Free Riding In Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2008-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    4. Kurt A. Ackermann & Ryan O. Murphy, 2019. "Explaining Cooperative Behavior in Public Goods Games: How Preferences and Beliefs Affect Contribution Levels," Games, MDPI, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, March.
    5. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    6. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    7. Simon Gaechter, 2006. "Conditional cooperation: Behavioral regularities from the lab and the field and their policy implications," Discussion Papers 2006-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    8. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    9. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    10. Charles Figuières & David Masclet & Marc Willinger, 2013. "Weak Moral Motivation Leads to the Decline of Voluntary Contributions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(5), pages 745-772, October.
    11. Fischbacher, Urs & Gächter, Simon & Quercia, Simone, 2012. "The behavioral validity of the strategy method in public good experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 897-913.
    12. Fischbacher, Urs & Gächter, Simon & Quercia, Simone, 2012. "The behavioral validity of the strategy method in public good experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 897-913.
    13. Guillen, Pablo & Fatas, Enrique & Brañas-Garza, Pablo, 2010. "Inducing efficient conditional cooperation patterns in public goods games, an experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 872-883, December.
    14. Takafumi Yamakawa & Yoshitaka Okano & Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2016. "Detecting motives for cooperation in public goods experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 500-512, June.
    15. Jordi Brandts & Christina Rott & Carles Solà, 2016. "Not just like starting over - Leadership and revivification of cooperation in groups," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 792-818, December.
    16. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2018. "Belief Heterogeneity and the Restart Effect in a Public Goods Game," Games, MDPI, vol. 9(4), pages 1-20, November.
    17. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Maria Paz Espinosa, 2011. "Unraveling Public Good Games," Games, MDPI, vol. 2(4), pages 1-18, November.
    18. Chaudhuri, Ananish & Paichayontvijit, Tirnud & Smith, Alexander, 2017. "Belief heterogeneity and contributions decay among conditional cooperators in public goods games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 15-30.
    19. Marie Claire Villeval, 2012. "Contribution au bien public et préférences sociales : Apports récents de l'économie comportementale," Post-Print halshs-00681348, HAL.
    20. Anna Conte & M. Vittoria Levati & Natalia Montinari, 2019. "Experience in public goods experiments," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 86(1), pages 65-93, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods games; experiments; voluntary contributions; conditional cooperation; free riding;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:261. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Severin Oswald (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.