Advertisement

Experimental Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 200–214 | Cite as

Effect of an audience in public goods provision

  • Emel Filiz-Ozbay
  • Erkut Y. Ozbay
Article

Abstract

This paper investigates a novel public goods game where contributions to the public goods require effort that is observable. When the players are observed, they exert more effort to contribute to the public goods, and free-riding diminishes significantly compared to the no observer case. These effects are absent when no effort is required in order to contribute to the public goods. Furthermore, in the presence of an audience, the contributions to the public goods do not diminish when the game is repeated in the effort-required environment. Being observed does not affect the performance of the players if there is no strategic aspect of the game, in other words, when they play a private goods game. These results indicate that an individual wants to avoid appearing lazy when her effort helps the society.

Keywords

Public goods Observable effort Experiment Social image 

JEL Classification

A13 C92 D03 D64 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Rachel Croson, Elif Incekara Hafalir, Lise Vesterlund, and seminar participants at the University of Pittsburgh for many useful comments and feedback. We thank Ozlem Tonguc and Danyan Zha for their competent research assistance.

Supplementary material

10683_2013_9363_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (99 kb)
(PDF 99 kB)

References

  1. Andreoni, J. (1988). Why free ride?: Strategies and learning in public goods experiments. Journal of Public Economics, 37(3), 291–304. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andreoni, J. (1989). Giving with impure altruism: applications to charity and Ricardian equivalence. Journal of Political Economy, 97, 1447–1458. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andreoni, J. (1990). Impure altruism and donations to public goods: a theory of warm-glow giving. Economic Journal, 100, 464–477. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andreoni, J., & Bernheim, B. D. (2009). Social image and the 50–50 norm: a theoretical and experimental analysis of audience effects. Econometrica, 77(5), 1607–1636. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andreoni, J., & Petrie, R. (2004). Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising. Journal of Public Economics, 88, 1605–1623. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ariely, D., Bracha, A., & Meier, S. (2009). Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially. The American Economic Review, 99(1), 544–555. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bazerman, M., Loewenstein, G., & Blount-White, S. (1992). Reversals of preference in allocation decisions: judging an alternative versus choosing among alternatives. Administrative Science Quarterly, 37(2), 220–240. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berkowitz, L. (1972). Social norms, feelings, and other factors affecting helping and altruism. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  9. Benabou, R. J., & Tirole, J. (2006). Incentives and prosocial behavior. The American Economic Review, 96(5), 1652–1678. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bernheim, B. D. (1994). A theory of conformity. Journal of Political Economy, 102(5), 841–877. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bernheim, B. D., & Serverinov, S. (2003). Bequests as signals: an explanation for the puzzle of equal division. Journal of Political Economy, 111(4), 733–764. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bilodeau, M., & Gravel, N. (2004). Voluntary provision of a public good and individual morality. Journal of Public Economics, 88(3–4), 645–666. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Broucek, F. J. (1991). Shame and the Self. New York: The Guilford Press. Google Scholar
  14. Carstensen, L. L., Isaacowitz, D. M., & Charles, S. T. (1999). Taking time seriously: A theory of socioemotional selectivity. American Psychologist, 54, 165–181. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chaudhuri, A. (2011). Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature. Experimental Economics, 14(1), 47–83. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cherry, T. L., Kroll, S., & Shogren, J. F. (2005). The impact of endowment heterogeneity and origin on public good contributions. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 57, 357–365. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dana, J., Cain, D. M., & Dawes, R. M. (2006). What you don’t know won’t hurt: costly but quiet exit in a dictator game. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 1002, 193–201. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Della Vigna, S., List, J. A., & Malmendier, U. (2012). Testing for altruism and social pressure in Charitable Giving. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127, 1–156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ekstrom, M. (2012). Do watching eyes affect charitable giving? Evidence from a field experiment. Experimental Economics, 15(3), 530–546. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fischbacher, U. (2007). Z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments. Experimental Economics, 10(2), 171–178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glazer, A., & Konrad, K. A. (1996). A signaling explanation for charity. The American Economic Review, 86(4), 1019–1028. Google Scholar
  22. Grossman, Z. (2010). Self-signaling versus social-signaling in giving. Mimeo. Google Scholar
  23. Harbaugh, W. T. (1998a). The prestige motive for charitable transfers. The American Economic Review, 88(2), 277–282. Google Scholar
  24. Harbaugh, W. T. (1998b). What do donations buy: a model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow. Journal of Public Economics, 67, 269–284. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hollander, H. (1990). A social exchange approach to voluntary contribution. The American Economic Review, 80, 1157–1167. Google Scholar
  26. Liu, W., & Aaker, J. (2008). The happiness of giving: the time-ask effect. Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 543–557. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Loewenstein, G., Thompson, L., & Bazerman, M. (1989). Social utility and decision making in interpersonal contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(3), 426–441. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Loewenstein, G., Read, D., & Baumeister, R. (2003). Time and Decision: Economic and Psychological Perspectives on Intertemporal Choice. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Google Scholar
  29. Nathanson, D. (1987). The shame/pride axis. In H. B. Lewis (Ed.), The Role of Shame in Symptom Formation, Hillsdale: Erlbaum. Google Scholar
  30. Niederle, M., & Vesterlund, L. (2007). Do women shy away from competition? Do men compete too much? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(3), 1067–1101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rege, M. (2004). Social norms and private provision of public goods. Journal of Public Economic Theory, 6(1), 65–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rege, M., & Telle, K. (2004). The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations. Journal of Public Economics, 88(7–8), 1625–1644. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Soetevent, A. R. (2005). Anonymity in giving in a natural context: a field experiment in 30 churches. Journal of Public Economics, 89(11–12), 2301–2323. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Soetevent, A. R. (2011). Payment choice, image motivation and contributions to charity: evidence from a field experiment. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(1), 180–205. Google Scholar
  35. Stoop, J., Noussair, C., & van Soest, D. (2012). From the lab to the field: cooperation among fishermen. Journal of Political Economy, 120(6), 1027–1056. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sugden, R. (1984). Reciprocity: the supply of public goods through voluntary contributions. Economic Journal, 94, 772–782. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tadelis, S. (2008). The power of shame and the rationality of trust. Mimeo. Google Scholar
  38. Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2003). To do or to have: That is the question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(6), 1193–1202. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vohs, K. D., Mead, N. L., & Goode, M. R. (2006). The psychological consequences of money. Science, 314, 1154–1156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yao, D. (2006). Microsoft-designed school opens in Philadelphia, Associated Press Newswires, September. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/sotf/default.mspx.

Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations