This paper investigates mechanisms for the private provision of a public good which utilize competition to incentivize contributions. Theory predicts that 'all-pay' competition is particularly effective for fundraising. Within this class of mechanisms different types of lotteries and all-pay auctions are analyzed and ranked. Four all-pay competition mechanisms are then examined in a laboratory experiment vis-à-vis a voluntary contribution mechanism (VCM). All four outperform the VCM and towards the end of the experiment fully efficient outcomes are attained in the 'lowest common denominator' scheme, which is particularly accommodating for people who have a preference for cooperating conditionally on others doing their bit.
public goods provision mechanisms experiments contests