Table of Contents
Economics Research International
Volume 2010, Article ID 768546, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/768546
Research Article

Walk the Talk? The Effect of Voting and Excludability in Public Goods Experiments

1Department of Social Sciences (Economics), University of Michigan-Dearborn, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
2Department of Computing Sciences and Mathematics, Franklin University, 201 S. Grant Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215, USA

Received 20 June 2010; Revised 20 October 2010; Accepted 5 November 2010

Academic Editor: Thomas D. Crocker

Copyright © 2010 Hans J. Czap et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of voting and excludability on individual contributions to group projects. We conducted two experiments on excludable and nonexcludable public goods, which provided several important results. First, contrary to our expectations, subjects are generally contributing more to the non-excludable compared to the excludable public good. Second, participating in a vote to choose a public project per se makes no difference in contributions. However, if the project that the individual voted for also gets selected by the group, they contribute significantly more to that project. Third, empathy and locus of control are important driving forces of participation in common projects. Our results have implications on the procedural design of obtaining funding for public projects. First, the public should get involved and have a say in the determination of which project should be realized. Second, it might well pay off to attempt to develop a consensus among the population and obtain near unanimous votes, because in our experiment, subjects discriminate between the project they voted for and the project chosen by the majority. Third, the policy proposers should stress the other-regarding interest of the public good rather than just pecuniary incentives.