Informal sanctions and conditional cooperation:

A natural experiment on voluntary contributions to a public good.

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Keyword: Informal sanctions, Natural experiments, Voluntary contributions, Conditional cooperation, Allemansrätten
Publication year: 2006
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutionsSDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities
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In a natural experiment, this paper studies the impact of an informal sanctioning mechanism on individuals’ voluntary contribution to a public good. Cross-country skiers’ actual cash contributions in two ski resorts, one with and one without an informal sanctioning system, are used. I find the contributing share to be higher in the informal sanctioning system (79 percent) than in the non-sanctioning system (36 percent). Previous studies in one-shot public good situations have found an increasing conditional contribution (CC) function, i.e. the relationship between expected average contributions of other group members and the individual’s own contribution. In contrast, the present results suggest that the CC-function in the non-sanctioning system is non-increasing at high perceived levels of others’ contribution. This relationship deserves further testing in lab.


Tobias Heldt

Högskolan Dalarna; Nationalekonomi
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