Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 513–535 | Cite as

Choice overload, coordination and inequality: three hurdles to the effectiveness of the compensation mechanism?

  • Estelle Midler
  • Charles Figuières
  • Marc Willinger


We test the effectiveness of a compensation mechanism, adapted from Varian (Am Econ Rev 84(5):1278–1293, 1994). When a negative externality is produced the mechanism allows agents suffering from it to compensate those who reduce its production, by way of transfers implemented via a two-stage design. We investigate various factors that might affect the likelihood that subjects coordinate on a Pareto optimum: the size of the strategy space, the number of subgame perfect equilibria and inequality of the payoff distribution. Our experimental findings suggest that the mechanism’s effectiveness crucially depends on the final payoff distribution (after transfers). It is also strongly negatively affected by the size of the strategy space. Finally, the impact of the number of equilibria on coordination only has a weak negative effect.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Estelle Midler
    • 1
  • Charles Figuières
    • 2
  • Marc Willinger
    • 3
  1. 1.BC3, Basque Center for Climate ChangeBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.INRA, LAMETAMontpellier Cedex 2France
  3. 3.UM1, LAMETA, IUFMontpellier Cedex 2France

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