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Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment


Fischbacher, Urs; Gächter, Simon; Fehr, Ernst (2000). Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 16, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We investigate to what extent contribution decisions to a public good depend on the contributions of others. We employ a novel experimental technique that allows us to elicit people's willingness to be conditionally cooperative, i.e., to contribute more to the public good the more the other beneficiaries contribute. We find that about a third of subjects' contribution schedules is characterized by complete free-riding. However, a majority of 50 percent of the subjects displays conditional cooperation. Our results can explain why in most repeated public goods experiments subjects initially cooperate while towards the final periods cooperation declines to very low levels

Abstract

We investigate to what extent contribution decisions to a public good depend on the contributions of others. We employ a novel experimental technique that allows us to elicit people's willingness to be conditionally cooperative, i.e., to contribute more to the public good the more the other beneficiaries contribute. We find that about a third of subjects' contribution schedules is characterized by complete free-riding. However, a majority of 50 percent of the subjects displays conditional cooperation. Our results can explain why in most repeated public goods experiments subjects initially cooperate while towards the final periods cooperation declines to very low levels

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:July 2000
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 21:26
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 12:48
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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