Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry, and Efficiency

Brown U, Economics Working Paper No. 02-19

44 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2002

See all articles by Talbot Page

Talbot Page

Brown University - Department of Economics

Louis Putterman

Brown University - Department of Economics

Bulent Unel

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2002

Abstract

We study the incentive effects of endogenous group formation in a voluntary contribution experiment. Subjects are given information on the past contributions of others and allowed to express a preference for partners. On the basis of the stated preferences, new groups are formed. We find that the opportunity to form new groups increases both contributions and efficiency. We also compare the regrouping mechanism with a mechanism allowing targeted reductions of others' earnings ("punishment"). In the experiment, both mechanisms increase contribution levels significantly, but only endogenous grouping or the combination of the two increase efficiency significantly.

Keywords: Public goods, collective action, group formation, reciprocity

JEL Classification: C91, H41, D23

Suggested Citation

Page, Talbot and Putterman, Louis G. and Unel, Bulent, Voluntary Association in Public Goods Experiments: Reciprocity, Mimicry, and Efficiency (May 2002). Brown U, Economics Working Paper No. 02-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=314705 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.314705

Talbot Page

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-1988 (Phone)
401-863-1970 (Fax)

Louis G. Putterman

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box B
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-3837 (Phone)
401-863-1970 (Fax)

Bulent Unel (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge ( email )

Department of Economics
2134 Patrick F. Taylor Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
United States

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