Are Cooperators Efficiency- or Fair-Minded? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment

32 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2007 Last revised: 13 Dec 2007

See all articles by M. Vittoria Levati

M. Vittoria Levati

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Strategic Interaction Group

Matteo Ploner

University of Trento

Stefan Traub

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Department of Economics; University of the German Federal Armed Forces - DFG Research Group 2104

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

We use a two-person public goods experiment to distinguish between efficiency and fairness as possible motivations for cooperative behavior. Asymmetric marginal per capita returns allow only the high-productivity player to increase group payouts when contributing positive amounts. Asymmetric contributions, however, yield unequal individual payouts. To assess a priori cooperative preferences, we measure individual 'value-orientations' by means of the decomposed game technique. Overall, our results indicate that fairness (or inequality aversion) is more influential than efficiency in driving behavior.

Keywords: Public goods experiments, Conditional cooperation, Fairness, Efficiency, Value orientations

JEL Classification: A13, C92, D63, H41

Suggested Citation

Levati, M. Vittoria and Ploner, Matteo and Traub, Stefan, Are Cooperators Efficiency- or Fair-Minded? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment (September 2007). Jena Economic Research Paper No. 2007-067, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1023870 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1023870

M. Vittoria Levati (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Strategic Interaction Group ( email )

D-07745 Jena
Germany

Matteo Ploner

University of Trento ( email )

Via Giuseppe Verdi 26
Trento, Trento 38152
Italy

Stefan Traub

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - Department of Economics ( email )

Holstenhofweg 85
Hamburg, 22043
Germany

University of the German Federal Armed Forces - DFG Research Group 2104 ( email )

Holstenhofweg 85
Hmaburg, DE 22043
Germany

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