Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 829–848 | Cite as

Cooperation and social classes: evidence from Colombia

  • Peter Martinsson
  • Clara Villegas-Palacio
  • Conny WollbrantEmail author


We investigate the relationship between social class belonging and contributions to local public goods. By utilizing the social class classifications in Colombia and an experimental design based on the strategy method, we can both study contributions to public goods and classify subjects into contribution types. We find similar contribution levels between high and medium-low social classes and also similar distributions of contributor types. However, low social class members conditionally contribute a significantly higher level than high social class members. This has implications for policymakers, who may need to consider differential policy schemes for locally provided public goods.

JEL Classification

C91 H41 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), Formas through the program Human Cooperation to Manage Natural Resources (COMMONS), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to the Environmental Economics Unit at the University of Gothenburg. We are also grateful to the School of Engineering (Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia), Medellín, Colombia, and Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín, for their support of our experiment. Special thanks go to Antonio Villegas-Rivera and Felipe Mejía for excellent research assistance, and to Martin Kocher, Marta Matute, Katarina Nordblom, Patrik Söderholm, Alba Upegui, managing editor Clemens Puppe, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Martinsson
    • 1
  • Clara Villegas-Palacio
    • 2
  • Conny Wollbrant
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and LawUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Facultad de MinasUniversidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede MedellínMedellínColombia

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