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On the provision of public goods with probabilistic and ambiguous thresholds

Dannenberg, Astrid, Löschel, Andreas, Paolacci, Gabriele, Reif, Christiane and Tavoni, Alessandro ORCID: 0000-0002-2057-5720 (2015) On the provision of public goods with probabilistic and ambiguous thresholds. Environmental and Resource Economics, 61 (3). pp. 365-383. ISSN 0924-6460

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10640-014-9796-6


Many natural systems involve thresholds that, once triggered, imply irreversible damages for the users. Although the existence of such thresholds is undisputed, their location is highly uncertain. We explore experimentally how threshold uncertainty affects collective action in a series of threshold public goods games. Whereas the public good is always provided when the exact value of the threshold is known, threshold uncertainty is generally detrimental for the public good provision as contributions become more erratic. The negative effect of threshold uncertainty is particularly severe when it takes the form of ambiguity, i.e. when players are not only unaware of the value of the threshold, but also of its probability distribution. Early and credible commitment helps groups to cope with uncertainty.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Springer Science & Business Media Dordrecht.
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
JEL classification: H - Public Economics > H4 - Publicly Provided Goods > H41 - Public Goods
H - Public Economics > H4 - Publicly Provided Goods > H44 - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 14:34
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 04:33

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