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Preferences and Perceptions in Provision and Maintenance Public Goods

Simon Gaechter (), Felix Koelle () and Simone Quercia
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Simon Gaechter: University of Nottingham
Felix Koelle: University of Cologne

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Felix Kölle () and Simon Gächter ()

No 2022-09, Discussion Papers from The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham

Abstract: We study two generic versions of public goods problems: in Provision problems, the public good does not exist initially and needs to be provided; in Maintenance problems, the public good already exists and needs to be maintained. We document a robust asymmetry in preferences and perceptions in two incentive-equivalent versions of these public good problems. We find fewer conditional cooperators and more free riders in Maintenance than Provision, a difference that is replicable, stable, and reflected in perceptions of kindness. Incentivized control questions administered before gameplay reveal dilemma-specific misperceptions but controlling for them neither eliminates game-dependent conditional cooperation, nor differences in perceived kindness of others’ cooperation. Thus, even when sharing the same game form, Maintenance and Provision are different social dilemmas that require separate behavioral analyses. A theory of revealed altruism can explain some features of our results.

Keywords: maintenance and provision social dilemmas; conditional cooperation; kindness; misperceptions; experiments; revealed altruism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-gth
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Journal Article: Preferences and perceptions in Provision and Maintenance public goods (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Preferences and Perceptions in Provision and Maintenance Public Goods (2022) Downloads
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