Today, I went to a seminar by, from, and for Economists!
Karin Nyborg (University of Oslo) talked about “Cooperation is Relative: Framing and Income Effects with Public Goods”, finding that “rich people” contribute to public goods independent of reward, while poor were self-interest driven. Interesting stuff.
This is relevant as we are also looking at contributions to a public good in Collaborative Open Innovation.
Describing standard Linear Public Good game. Decide how much to keep for you, how much to give to the group. The group income is then multiplied by some factor and split between the group.
.. Payoff x_i = e_i – c_i + m(Sum(c_k)1/N
Double blind, no one will know who has decided how. (not even lab personnel)
Highly endowed (rich) students get 10€, the poor one 5€. Project suceeds only if contributions reach 120NOK (half of all endowments).
The decision variable of how much to contribute is changed in three treatment groups. It is 1) Absolute, that is, “I decide to give 10NOK to the group”, it is 2) Relative, “I give 30% of my endowment to the group”, or 3) Payoff (“I keep 70 NOK for myself”).
As a result 1) and 2) are basically the same. 84%, or 80% “succeeeded”, ie reached the treshold, the payoff group was only 67%. Wow, it matters how you formulate your question.
Rich people gave the same in all cases (1,2,3). Poor people contributed most in the “Absolute” case (40NOK), less “Relative” (30NOK) and least in the payoff case (10NOK or so). Overall, it was a nicely and well done experiment and quite cool, overall. I could well imagine doing something similar.