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VOTING, PUNISHMENT, AND PUBLIC GOODS

Authors

  • STEPHAN KROLL,

    1. Kroll: Department of Economics, California State University Sacramento, 6000 J-Street, Sacramento, CA 95819-6082. Phone (916) 920-0797, Fax (916) 278-7062, Email skroll@csus.edu and Center for Experimental Economics, Department of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck, Austria
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      We would like to thank Simon Gächter, Wolfgang Luhan, Peter Matthews, Matthias Sutter, two anonymous referees, the journal editor, and seminar participants at the meetings of the Public Choice Society, Canadian Economics Association, Austrian Economics Association, Colorado University Environmental and Resource Economics workshop, St. Lawrence University, California State University Sacramento, Loyola Marymount University, and University of California Davis for useful comments. We also thank St. Lawrence University for a research grant to fund this project and Vivek Bachhawat for programming the software. Most of this research was conducted while the first author was a faculty member at St. Lawrence University. He is also grateful to the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF, Project P16617) for financing his stay at the University of Innsbruck, while this paper was completed.

  • TODD L. CHERRY,

    1. Cherry: Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608-2051. Phone (828) 262-6081, Fax: (828) 262-6105, Email: cherrytl@appstate.edu and Department of Economics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0550
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      We would like to thank Simon Gächter, Wolfgang Luhan, Peter Matthews, Matthias Sutter, two anonymous referees, the journal editor, and seminar participants at the meetings of the Public Choice Society, Canadian Economics Association, Austrian Economics Association, Colorado University Environmental and Resource Economics workshop, St. Lawrence University, California State University Sacramento, Loyola Marymount University, and University of California Davis for useful comments. We also thank St. Lawrence University for a research grant to fund this project and Vivek Bachhawat for programming the software. Most of this research was conducted while the first author was a faculty member at St. Lawrence University. He is also grateful to the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF, Project P16617) for financing his stay at the University of Innsbruck, while this paper was completed.

  • JASON F. SHOGREN

    1. Shogren: Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071. Phone (307) 766-5430, Fax: (307) 766-5090, Email: jramses@uwyo.edu
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    • *

      We would like to thank Simon Gächter, Wolfgang Luhan, Peter Matthews, Matthias Sutter, two anonymous referees, the journal editor, and seminar participants at the meetings of the Public Choice Society, Canadian Economics Association, Austrian Economics Association, Colorado University Environmental and Resource Economics workshop, St. Lawrence University, California State University Sacramento, Loyola Marymount University, and University of California Davis for useful comments. We also thank St. Lawrence University for a research grant to fund this project and Vivek Bachhawat for programming the software. Most of this research was conducted while the first author was a faculty member at St. Lawrence University. He is also grateful to the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF, Project P16617) for financing his stay at the University of Innsbruck, while this paper was completed.


Abstract

Researchers have found that voting can help increase voluntary contributions to a public good—provided enforcement through a third party. Not all collective agreements, however, guarantee third-party enforcement. We design an experiment to explore whether a voting rule with and without endogenous punishment increases contributions to a public good. Our results suggest that voting by itself does not increase cooperation, but if voters can punish violators, contributions increase significantly. While costly punishment increases contributions at the price of lower efficiency, overall efficiency for a voting-with-punishment rule still exceeds the level observed for a voting-without-punishment rule. (JEL C92, D72, H41)

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