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Abstract

A usual explanation to low levels of contribution to public goods is the fear of getting the sucker’s payoff (cooperation by the participant and defection by the other players). In order to disentangle the effect of this fear from other motives, we design a public good game where people have an assurance against getting the sucker’s payoff. We show that contributions to the public good under this ‘protective’ design are significantly higher and interact with expectations on other individuals' contribution to the public good. Some policy implications and extensions are suggested.

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