Political Inequality, Centralized Sanctioning Institutions, and the Maintenance of Public Goods

18 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018

See all articles by Han Il Chang

Han Il Chang

New York University Abu Dhabi

Christopher T. Dawes

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Tim Johnson

Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

Centralized sanctioning institutions cultivate cooperation by eradicating the gains from free‐riding. Studies show that electing a community member to operate a centralized sanctioning institution further increases support for the public good. These studies have overlooked an all‐too‐common attribute of non‐laboratory elections: political inequality. In this paper, we replicate those studies and, then, introduce novel experimental treatments that examine how political inequality influences the cooperation‐enhancing effect of a democratic election to centralized sanctioning institutions. In our novel treatment conditions, participants receive either a random allotment of votes that they can use to elect a centralized sanctioning authority or an allocation of votes proportional to their earnings in a previously‐executed public goods game. We find that political inequalities created via the random allocation of votes do not hinder cooperation, whereas political inequalities created via past game play undermine elected authorities and diminish contributions to the public good from individuals advantaged by political inequality.

Keywords: cooperation, lab experiment, political inequality, public goods game

JEL Classification: H41

Suggested Citation

Chang, Han Il and Dawes, Christopher T. and Johnson, Tim, Political Inequality, Centralized Sanctioning Institutions, and the Maintenance of Public Goods (July 2018). Bulletin of Economic Research, Vol. 70, Issue 3, pp. 251-268, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3211605 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boer.12140

Han Il Chang (Contact Author)

New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

Division of Social Science
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Christopher T. Dawes

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://dss.ucsd.edu/~cdawes/

Tim Johnson

Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
55
PlumX Metrics