A Simple Mechanism for the Efficient Provision of Public Goods - Experimental Evidence

32 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2000

See all articles by Josef Falkinger

Josef Falkinger

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ernst Fehr

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Simon Gächter

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics; Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental examination of the Falkinger (1996) mechanism for overcoming the free-rider problem. The basic idea of the mechanism is that deviations from the mean contribution to the public good are taxed and subsidized. The mechanism has attractive properties because (i) it induces higher contributions to the public good and can implement an efficient level of contributions as a Nash equilibrium, (ii) the government budget is always balanced irrespective of the level of individual contributions, (iii) it is simple and policy makers need only little information to implement the mechanism.

To examine the empirical properties of the mechanism we conducted a large series of experiments. It turns out that the introduction of the mechanism generates immediate and large efficiency gains. This result is robust throughout many different experimental settings. Moreover, in the presence of the mechanism the Nash equilibrium is a rather good predictor of behavior.

JEL Classification: H41, C91

Suggested Citation

Falkinger, Josef and Fehr, Ernst and Gächter, Simon and Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, A Simple Mechanism for the Efficient Provision of Public Goods - Experimental Evidence. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=144408 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.144408

Josef Falkinger

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ernst Fehr

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Blümlisalpstrasse 10
Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 1 634 3709 (Phone)
+41 1 634 4907 (Fax)

Simon Gächter

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Rudolf Winter-Ebmer (Contact Author)

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria
+43 732 2468 8236 (Phone)
+43 732 2468 8238 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.jku.at/winter

Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

Stumpergasse 56
A-1060 Vienna, A-1060
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://www.ihs.ac.at

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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