Let the others do the job: Comparing public good contribution behavior in the lab and in the field

Autor(en)
Ilona Reindl, Roman Hoffmann, Bernhard Kittel
Abstrakt

Laboratory experiments provide convincing evidence that many people cooperate even if incentives to free-ride on the contributions of others are present. It is, however, unclear to what extent behavior observed in such a context-free environment is informative about behavior in context-rich field settings. Our study sheds light on this question by comparing students’ contributions to a standard public good game (PGG) with their contributions to a naturally occurring public good, a university course group assignment. Using a within-subject design, we find that students who contribute little in an unconditional PGG are also significantly more likely to free-ride on their peers in the group assignment. As an extension to previous studies, we also consider conditional contribution behavior. We observe that students who are classified as conditional cooperators in the online game also adjust their contributions to the behavior of others in the field. Our results, which are robust to the inclusion of a variety of contextual variables and the use of charitable giving as an alternative outcome measure, suggest that preferences revealed in the lab are informative for strategically comparable field settings. Yet, decision-making in the field is also strongly shaped by situational influences that challenge a direct comparison.

Organisation(en)
Institut für Wirtschaftssoziologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW), Globale Verantwortung
Journal
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Band
81
Seiten
73-83
ISSN
2214-8043
Publikationsdatum
2019
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
502057 Experimentelle Ökonomie
Schlagwörter
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/let-the-others-do-the-job-comparing-public-good-contribution-behavior-in-the-lab-and-in-the-field(06daa335-d2ab-47c7-a988-873688ba5fd6).html