Weak Moral Motivation Leads to the Decline of Voluntary Contributions

Posted: 31 Jan 2011

See all articles by Charles Figuieres

Charles Figuieres

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE); Université de Polynésie Française

David Masclet

Université de Rennes I; M@rsouin

Marc Willinger

LAMETA, University of Montpellier 1

Date Written: January 31, 2011

Abstract

We develop a model that accounts for the decay of the average contribution observed in experiments on voluntary contributions to a public good. The novel idea is that people's moral motivation is "weak." Their judgment about the right contribution depends on observed contributions by group members and on an intrinsic "moral ideal." We show that the assumption of weakly morally motivated agents lead to the decline of the average contribution over time. The model is compatible with persistence of over-contributions, variability of contributions (across and within individuals), and the "restart effect." Furthermore, it offers a rationale for conditional cooperation.

Keywords: Conditional Cooperation, Voluntary Contributions, Moral Motivation, Experiments on Public Goods Games

JEL Classification: H00, H41, C72

Suggested Citation

Figuieres, Charles and Masclet, David and Willinger, Marc, Weak Moral Motivation Leads to the Decline of Voluntary Contributions (January 31, 2011). CIRANO - Scientific Publication No. 2011s-09, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1752249 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1752249

Charles Figuieres

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

Université de Polynésie Française

David Masclet (Contact Author)

Université de Rennes I ( email )

11 Rue Jean Macé
35065 Rennes Cedex, Rennes
France

M@rsouin ( email )

France

Marc Willinger

LAMETA, University of Montpellier 1 ( email )

Avenue de la Mer Site Richter
163 Rue Auguste Broussonnet
34006 Montpellier Cedex 1, Cedex 2 34090
France

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