Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?

Posted: 1 May 1998  

Thomas R. Palfrey

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Jeffrey E. Prisbrey

Government of the United States of America - Mass Media Bureau

Abstract

We report the results of voluntary contributions experiments where subjects are randomly assigned different rates of return from their private consumption. These random assignments are changed round to round, enabling the measurement of individual player contribution rates as a function of that player's investment cost. We directly test these response functions for the presence of warm-glow and/or altruism effects. We find significant evidence for heterogeneous warm-glow effects that are, on average, low in magnitude. We statistically reject the presence of an altruism effect.

JEL Classification: C92, C92, H41

Suggested Citation

Palfrey, Thomas R. and Prisbrey, Jeffrey E., Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?. The American Economic Review, December 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=82589

Thomas R. Palfrey (Contact Author)

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
301A Baxter Hall
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-4088 (Phone)
626-4432-1726 (Fax)

Jeffrey E. Prisbrey

Government of the United States of America - Mass Media Bureau ( email )

2000 M St., N.W.
Policy & Rules Division
Washington, DC 20554
United States

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