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What exactly is public in a public good game? A lab-in-the-field experiment

Number: 125
Year: 2018
Author(s): Pietro Battiston, Simona Gamba, Matteo Rizzolli, Valentina Rotondi
Keywords: Public goods,lab-in-the-field experiment,cooperation,group,behavior,community,indivisibility
Are public good games really capturing individuals’ willingness to contribute to real-life public goods? To answer this question, we conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment with communities who own collective goods. In our experiment, subjects voluntarily contribute to a common pool, which can either be subdivided in individual vouchers, as in standard public good games, or used to acquire collective goods, as it happens for real-life public goods. We show that participants’ contributions are larger when the voucher is paid individually, suggesting that individuals’ willingness to contribute to public goods may be overestimated when based on results from laboratory experiments.

Pietro Battiston University of Milan-Bicocca

Simona Gamba University of Verona

Matteo Rizzolli LUMSA University

Valentina Rotondi Bocconi University

Language: English

The paper may be downloaded here.