A Network Approach to Public Goods
68 Pages Posted: 15 May 2014 Last revised: 5 Nov 2019
Date Written: January 17, 2017
Suppose agents can exert costly effort that creates nonrival, heterogeneous benefits for each other. At each possible outcome, a weighted, directed network describing marginal externalities is defined. We show that Pareto efficient outcomes are those at which the largest eigenvalue of the network is 1. An important set of efficient solutions — Lindahl outcomes — are characterized by contributions being proportional to agents' eigenvector centralities in the network. The outcomes we focus on are motivated by negotiations. We apply the results to identify who is essential for Pareto improvements, how to efficiently subdivide negotiations, and whom to optimally add to a team.
Keywords: public goods, externalities, bargaining, network centrality, eigenvector centrality
JEL Classification: C78, D50, D62, D70, H41
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