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Coordination and the Provision of Discrete Public Goods by Correlated Equilibria

Alberto Cavaliere ()

Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2001, vol. 3, issue 3, 235-55

Abstract: The strategic analysis of the private provision of a discrete public good has shown the existence of multiple Nash equilibria with the efficient number of players voluntarily contributing. However the coordination issue is left unexplained by this literature. The experimental evidence shows that communication among players is helpful in achieving cooperation. We claim that, from the theoretical point of view, this is equivalent to playing correlated equilibria in an extended public good game with communication, modeled as Chicken. We characterize such equilibria as feasible coordination mechanisms to achieve public goods provision in the general contribution game. We further introduce a second kind of game characterized by payoff externalities that may persist after the minimal threshold of contributors is achieved. While it is easy to show the existence of Pareto efficient correlated equilibria in the first game, in the second one players face incentive problems such that a first best cannot always be an equilibrium. Nevertheless there exist correlated equilibria that can qualify as incentive efficient mechanisms, once free riding is seen as a moral hazard issue. Finally, with an example, we discuss the impact of coalition formation in our framework. Copyright 2001 by Blackwell Publishing Inc.

Date: 2001
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Journal of Public Economic Theory is currently edited by Rabah Amir, Gareth Myles and Myrna Wooders

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