Social dilemmas such as greenhouse gas emission reduction are often characterized by heterogeneity in benefits from solving the dilemma. How should leadership of group members be organized in such a setting? We implement a laboratory public goods experiment with heterogeneous marginal per capita returns from the public good and leading by example that is either implemented exogenously or by self-selection. Our results suggest that both exogenous and selfselected leadership only have a small effect on contributions to the public good. We do not find significant differences in contributions for exogenous and self-selected leadership. Leaders seem to need additional instruments to be more effective when benefits are heterogeneous.
public goods experiment heterogeneous benefits leading by example