Civic Engagement as a Second-Order Public Good: The Cooperative Underpinnings of the Accountable State

69 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2019

See all articles by Kenju Kamei

Kenju Kamei

Durham University - Department of Economics and Finance

Louis Putterman

Brown University

Jean-Robert Tyran

University of Vienna; University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2, 2019

Abstract

Effective states provide public goods by taxing their citizens and imposing penalties for non-compliance. However, accountable government requires that enough citizens are civically engaged. We study the voluntary cooperative underpinnings of the accountable state by conducting a two-level public goods experiment in which civic engagement can build a sanction scheme to solve the first-order public goods dilemma. We find that civic engagement can be sustained at high levels when costs are low relative to the benefits of public good provision. This cost-to-benefit differential yields what we call a “leverage effect” because it transforms modest willingness to cooperate into the larger social dividend from the power of taxation. In addition, we find that local social interaction among subgroups of participants also boosts cooperation.

Keywords: civic engagement, public goods provision, punishment, experiment, cooperation

JEL Classification: C92, D02, D72, H41

Suggested Citation

Kamei, Kenju and Putterman, Louis and Tyran, Jean-Robert, Civic Engagement as a Second-Order Public Good: The Cooperative Underpinnings of the Accountable State (September 2, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448470 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448470

Kenju Kamei

Durham University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Durham, DH1 3HY
United Kingdom

Louis Putterman

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Jean-Robert Tyran (Contact Author)

University of Vienna ( email )

Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1
Vienna, Vienna 1090
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/jean-robert.tyran/

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark
+45 353 23 027 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/tyran/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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