Public Choice

, Volume 157, Issue 1–2, pp 25–39 | Cite as

Does a membership fee foster successful public good provision? An experimental investigation of the provision of a step-level collective good



We report the results of an experiment investigating the provision of a step-level collective good. This experiment compares the behavior of subjects in a public good game with the behavior of subjects in a club good game. In the club good game, players who do not contribute the membership fee are excluded from the consumption of the collective good. The introduction of a small membership fee has surprisingly strong effects: it increases the provision of the collective good, delays provision failures and increases the number of contributors. The experiment also reveals the limits of the introduction of a small fee. At a high threshold level, the membership fee no longer ensures successful provision.


Public goods Club goods Membership fee Step-level Coordination 

JEL Classification

C92 D71 D60 H41 



We wish to thank an anonymous referee and the editor for their useful comments that helped to improve significantly the paper. We like to thank Charles Noussair and Sophie Thoyer for their comments on an earlier version.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR GESTEENGEESStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.UMR LAMETAUFR d’EconomieMontpellier Cedex 2France

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