Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Not All Income is the Same to Everyone: Cognitive Ability and the House Money Effect in Public Goods Games

Hackinger, Julian (2016): Not All Income is the Same to Everyone: Cognitive Ability and the House Money Effect in Public Goods Games.

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Abstract

The provision of public goods often suffers from a social dilemma generating too little contributions. Yet, it remains an open question how positive contributions materialise. Existing studies suggest that individuals' decisions on how much to contribute depend on cognitive skills. Furthermore, mental accounting research indicates that the source of income matters for economic decision making. I show experimentally that subjects' contributions in a one-shot linear public goods game depend on an interplay of the two factors. While a house money effect exists for subjects with low cognitive skills there is no such effect for those with high cognitive skills. My findings have important implications for taxation, redistribution, and voting behaviour, as well as past and future experiments.

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