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Abstract

This paper tests the ability of an exogenous targeting instrument to induce compliance when the principal cannot observe the actions of individual agents. A number of papers show that although these instruments are able to induce groups to the target outcome, they are not able to induce individuals to make socially optimal decisions in a number of different controlled laboratory experiments. This study investigates whether the information individuals have about others’ payoffs affects how they make their decisions in this environment. Ledyard (1995) suggests that when subjects have less information in public goods experiments they are more likely to choose the Nash equilibrium decision. However, as he points out, this effect differs between groups with homogeneous and heterogeneous payoff functions. The results show that reducing information reduces efficiency although there are no significant effects on the absolute level of group decisions at the aggregate level. At the individual level, reducing the information players have complicates the environment resulting in subjects choosing either lower decision numbers or more randomly. Moreover, these effects seem to be more serious for subjects whose Nash decisions are on the boundary of the decision space.

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