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Continuous versus Step-Level Public Good Games

23 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2005  

Susanne Abele

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Garold Stasser

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Psychology

Date Written: April 3, 2005

Abstract

We will firstly outline the rationale of a public good game and explain the distinction between a continuous public good game and a threshold public good game. As a vast majority of experimental research in social psychology on public good games has used threshold public good games, we will then outline the structure of a dilemma game with a provision point. Our point is that dilemma games with a provision point violate two important assumptions commonly held for public good games: a) there is always a conflict between the group's interest and the individual's interest; and b) an individual is always better off defecting. A threshold dilemma game is a dilemma with a coordination game embedded in it. Hence it provides focal point solutions and may as a consequence leave less room for other factors to affect behavior. Moreover, games with a provision point might yield different results than games without a provision point. We will argue that above that threshold dilemma games do not provide good models of many the public goods problems that are encountered in real life. We will propose that a public good game with a tilted S function provides a more appropriate model of real life dilemmas while fulfilling the defining properties of public good games.

Keywords: step-level public good game, continuous public good game

Keywords: Step-level public good game, continuous public good game

JEL Classification: M, F23, C79, M14

Suggested Citation

Abele, Susanne and Stasser, Garold, Continuous versus Step-Level Public Good Games (April 3, 2005). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2005-015-ORG. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=797939

Susanne Abele (Contact Author)

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Garold Stasser

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Psychology

Oxford, OH 45056
United States

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