Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Viewers like you: community norms and contributions to public broadcasting

Knack, Stephen and Kropf, Martha (2003): Viewers like you: community norms and contributions to public broadcasting. Published in: Political Researcg Quarterly , Vol. 56, No. 2 (June 2003): pp. 187-197.

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The logic of collective action (Olson 1965) suggests that public broadcasting may be underprovided, because non-contributors are not excluded from receiving the benefits. Why do so many individuals voluntarily contribute to public television, even though they can obtain the benefits of public television without contributing? We explore the hypothesis that giving to public broadcasting is determined in part by the strength of "civic norms" that limit the opportunistic behavior of individuals in large-numbers prisoners' dilemma settings. We also explore a variety of other explanations for charitable giving and collective action, including group size, tax deductibility, crowd out, and selective incentives. Our findings provide evidence linking civic norms and giving to public broadcasting. Education and income have indirect effects through strengthening civic norms. We find some evidence that selective incentives increase the average size of contributions among those who contribute.

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