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The impact of redistribution mechanisms in the vote with the wallet game: experimental results


We use the vote-with-the-wallet game to model socially or environmentally responsible consumption, an increasingly relevant but still under-researched phenomenon. Based on a theoretical model outlining game equilibria and the parametric interval of the related multiplayer prisoners’ dilemma we evaluate with a controlled lab experiment players’ behaviour in the game and test the effects of an ex post redistribution mechanism between defectors and cooperators. Our findings document that the redistribution mechanism interrupts cooperation decay and stabilizes the share of cooperators at a level significantly higher, even though inferior to the Nash equilibrium.

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  2. Fehr and Gächter (2000) document that their decentralized punishment mechanism has a large impact on cooperation in a public good game. Several contributions extend their work in various directions focusing on nonpecuniary sanctions (Masclet et al. 2003; Noussair and Tucker 2005), effectiveness of punishment (Nikiforakis and Normann 2008) and the price of punishment (Anderson and Putterman 2006; Carpenter 2007).

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  11. Said in other terms this implies that only players without income constraints (income at least equal or above the full cost of the responsible product) can participate to the game.

  12. For a specific description of the two frames see “ESM Appendix 1”.

  13. Players’ endowment do not make any difference between the two choices and are omitted for simplicity.

  14. For further details on the socio-demographic variables and their impact see questions 1–11 of the Questionnaire in “ESM Appendix 2” and detailed descriptive and econometric findings in “ESM Appendix 2”.

  15. Similar results can be shown when marginal effects are computed at the means of our regressors and are available upon request.


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The study was funded by SmartLab ( We thank Andrea Attar, Marco Battaglini, Francesco Bogliacino, Mark Brockway, Giacomo Corneo, Maurizio Fiaschetti, Werner Güth, Luca Lambertini, Victor Murinde, Christine Oughton, Arsen Palestini, and François Salanie for their helpful suggestions and all the participants to the 2015 seminar held at the University of Berlin, the 2015 Luiss lab seminar in Rome, the 2016 Villa Mondragone Economic Conference, the 2016 RES-PhD Meeting in London, the 2017 DeFiMS seminar at SOAS University of London, and the 2017 IEA World Congress in Mexico City for the useful comments and suggestions received. We are also grateful to Alejandra Vasquez, Tiziana Medda, and Antonio Fadda for their invaluable research assistance provided throughout this project.

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Correspondence to Leonardo Becchetti.

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Becchetti, L., Pelligra, V. & Salustri, F. The impact of redistribution mechanisms in the vote with the wallet game: experimental results. Soc Choice Welf 51, 595–619 (2018).

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