Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/90716
Authors: 
Brekke, Kjell Arne
Konow, James
Nyborg, Karine
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
Memorandum, Department of Economics, University of Oslo 16/2012
Abstract: 
In social dilemmas, there is tension between cooperation that promotes the common good and the pursuit of individual interests. International climate change negotiations provide one example: although abatement costs are borne by individual countries, the benefits are shared globally. We study a multi-period, threshold public goods game with unequally endowed participants and communication in which the decision variable is framed in three seemingly inconsequential ways: as absolute contributions, contributions relative to endowments and in terms of the effects of contributions on final payoffs. We find considerable agreement that rich (or high endowed) persons contribute more than poor (or low endowed) individuals at levels that are invariant across frames. Frames do, however, significantly affect both preferred and actual contributions for the poor: they contribute significantly less when the decision variable makes the effects on final payoffs salient than when it is framed in terms of absolute contributions. Contributions are explained mostly by self-interest, justice preferences, and experiencing failed negotiations, but we find no effects of reciprocity toward individuals or of the suggestions of others about what one should contribute.
Subjects: 
Public good game
threshold
communication
fairness
endowment heterogeneity
JEL: 
D63
D64
H41
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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