Self-Serving Deviations from Standard Behavior: Investigating Income and Relative Return Differentials in Voluntary Contributions Mechanisms

Using a public goods experiment with heterogeneous income and marginal-per-capita-returns (MPCR), this paper investigates the main drivers of behavior for high- and low-income individuals playing separately and in mixed groups. A finite mixture model was used to split each income type into two categories. While a third of low-income individuals were “free-riders”, the dominant portion was classified as “opportunists”, who try to benefit from the presence of high-income individuals by encouraging contributions through cooperation. “Free-riders” were far less among high-income individuals, where the overruling majority were “selfists” who, due to self-interest and caution, contribute less when low-income individuals are present.

Issue Date:
Feb 02 2018
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
JEL Codes:
C91; H41

 Record created 2018-01-10, last modified 2020-10-28

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