Recognizing Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods

36 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013 Last revised: 13 Jan 2014

See all articles by Anya Samek

Anya Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Date Written: May 6, 2013

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the impact of visibility of contributors and cost of information on public good contributions. First, we vary recognizing all, highest or lowest contributors. Second, we investigate the effect of imposing a cost on viewing contributors. Recognizing all contributors significantly increases contributions relative to the baseline, even when viewing contributors’ information is costly. This effect holds even though the identities of contributors are viewed less than ten percent of the time. Recognizing only highest contributors does not increase contributions compared to not recognizing contributors, but recognizing only lowest contributors is as effective as recognizing all contributors. These findings support our conjecture that aversion from shame is a more powerful motivator for giving than anticipation of prestige.

Keywords: public-goods, information, experiments

JEL Classification: C72, C91, H41

Suggested Citation

Samek, Anya and Sheremeta, Roman M., Recognizing Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods (May 6, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2261286 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2261286

Anya Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Roman M. Sheremeta (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

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