Conformity and Reciprocity in Public Good Provision

Posted: 16 Aug 2005

See all articles by Nicholas Bardsley

Nicholas Bardsley

University of Nottingham - Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx)

Rupert Sausgruber

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Economics

Abstract

People contribute more to experimental public goods the more others contribute, a tendency called "crowding-in." We propose a novel experimental design to distinguish two possible causes of crowding-in: reciprocity, the usual explanation, and conformity, a neglected alternative. Subjects are given the opportunity to react to contributions of a payoff-irrelevant group, in addition to their own group. We find evidence of conformity, accounting for roughly 1/3 of crowding-in.

Keywords: Conformity, reciprocity, public good experiment

JEL Classification: C92, H41

Suggested Citation

Bardsley, Nicholas and Sausgruber, Rupert, Conformity and Reciprocity in Public Good Provision. Journal of Economic Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=775367

Nicholas Bardsley

University of Nottingham - Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

Rupert Sausgruber (Contact Author)

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, 1020
Austria
+43 1 31336 4572 (Phone)

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