Preferences and Strategic Behavior in Public Goods Games

34 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2018

See all articles by Gilles Grandjean

Gilles Grandjean

Université catholique de Louvain

Mathieu Lefebvre

University of Strasbourg

Marco Mantovani

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS); Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis à Bruxelles - CEREC

Date Written: December 19, 2018

Abstract

We analyze experimentally behavior in a finitely repeated public goods game. One of the main results of the literature is that contributions are initially high, and gradually decrease over time. Two explanations of this pattern have been developed: (i) the population is composed of free-riders, who never contribute, and conditional cooperators, who contribute if others do so as well; (ii) strategic players contribute to sustain mutually beneficial future cooperation, but reduce their contributions as the end of the game approaches. This paper contributes to bridging the gap between these views. We analyze preferences and strategic ability in one design by manipulating group composition to form homogeneous groups on both dimensions. Our results highlight the interaction between the two: groups that sustain high levels of cooperation are composed of members who share a common inclination toward cooperation and have the strategic abilities to recognize and reap the benefits of enduring cooperation.

Keywords: Voluntary contribution, conditional cooperation, free riding, strategic sophistication

JEL Classification: H41, C73, C92.

Suggested Citation

Grandjean, Gilles and Lefebvre, Mathieu and Mantovani, Marco, Preferences and Strategic Behavior in Public Goods Games (December 19, 2018). University of Milan Bicocca Department of Economics, Management and Statistics Working Paper No. 395. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3304085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3304085

Gilles Grandjean

Université catholique de Louvain ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

Mathieu Lefebvre

University of Strasbourg

61, avenue de la foret noire
Strasbourg, Alsace 3000
France

Marco Mantovani (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis à Bruxelles - CEREC ( email )

Brussels, 1000
Belgium
+32 2 7923551 (Phone)

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