Does Competition Resolve the Free-Rider Problem in the Voluntary Provision of Impure Public Goods? Experimental Evidence
In this paper we assume that a public project creates different payoffs to different contributors. Within this environment we study two institutions: Rank Order Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (Rank-Order-VCM) and Random Order Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (Random-Order-VCM). In Rank-Order-VCM individuals compete with their observable contributions towards a public project for a larger share of the payoff that the project generates while in Random-Order-VCM the shares are assigned randomly. We observe that competition outweighs incentives to free-ride and find that Random-Rank-VCM elicits median contributions equal to the full endowment throughout the whole experiment, including the last period. In Random-Rank-VCM the contributions are significantly lower and decline over time.