Pro-Social Behavior by Groups and Individuals: Evidence from Contributions to a Global Public Good

29 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2017

See all articles by Gert Pönitzsch

Gert Pönitzsch

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Date Written: March 24, 2017

Abstract

Decisions affecting the well-being of others are often made by groups rather than individuals. For example, management boards decide about mitigating emissions, political representatives decide on environmental policies, and voters cast their ballot on the participation in international treaties. I analyze group decisions on contributions to a public good and contrast them to individual decisions using a large online experiment. Participants decide about contributions to climate change mitigation - either individually or in groups. Groups use majority voting or a random dictator mechanism to determine the contributions of their members. I find that contributions are higher if choices are made in groups. In addition, subjects tend to less extreme choices in group decisions - even if individual preferences are aggregated via voting.

Keywords: cooperation, groups, individuals, majority voting, representative democracy

JEL Classification: C92, D71, H41

Suggested Citation

Pönitzsch, Gert, Pro-Social Behavior by Groups and Individuals: Evidence from Contributions to a Global Public Good (March 24, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2940249 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2940249

Gert Pönitzsch (Contact Author)

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics ( email )

Grabengasse 14
Heidelberg, D-69117
Germany
+49 6221 54 2929 (Phone)

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