Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Visibility of Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods

Samak, Anya and Sheremeta, Roman (2013): Visibility of Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods.

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Abstract

We experimentally investigate the impact of visibility of contributors and cost of information on public good contributions. First, we vary recognizing all, highest or lowest contributors. Second, we investigate the effect of imposing a cost on viewing contributors. Recognizing all contributors significantly increases contributions relative to the baseline, even when viewing contributors’ information is costly. This effect holds even though the identities of contributors are viewed less than ten percent of the time. Recognizing only highest contributors does not increase contributions compared to not recognizing contributors, but recognizing only lowest contributors is as effective as recognizing all contributors. These findings support our conjecture that aversion from shame is a more powerful motivator for giving than anticipation of prestige.

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