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Social capital and the voluntary provision of public goods

Rik Chakraborti, Matt Maloney, Gavin Roberts and Jason Shogren ()

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2018, vol. 77, issue C, 196-208

Abstract: Individual contributions to public good investments are subject to the problem of free riding. We investigate the possibility of overcoming the free-riding problem through creating social capital via communication. Using data from a public goods experiment, we empirically test the effectiveness of two commonly used types of communication interventions in various organizations—structured, goal-oriented communication and unstructured, free-form communication—in creating social capital. Although both types of communication are found to reduce free-riding, when players stay in the same groups before and after communication, unstructured communication brings voluntary contributions closer to the efficient level persistently; structured communication is less successful. In contrast, structured communication is more successful when players are allocated to different groups after communication; unstructured communication has a smaller impact on voluntary contributions in this case.

Keywords: Social capital; Public goods; Free riding; Communication (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 H41 C91 C92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics) is currently edited by Ofer Azar

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:77:y:2018:i:c:p:196-208