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Open AccessArticle

Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment

by Jürgen Fleiß 1 and Stefan Palan 2,3,*
Institute of Statistics and Operations Research, University of Graz, Universitätsstrasse 15, 8010 Graz, Austria
Department of Banking and Finance, University of Innsbruck, Universitätsstrasse 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Institute of Banking and Finance, University of Graz, Universitätsstrasse 15/F2, 8010 Graz, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Games 2013, 4(4), 584-607;
Received: 17 July 2013 / Revised: 11 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 10 October 2013
We experimentally investigate whether human subjects are willing to give up individual freedom in return for the benefits of improved coordination. We conduct a modified iterated public goods game in which subjects in each period first decide which of two groups to join. One group employs a voluntary contribution mechanism, the other group an allocator contribution mechanism. The setup of the allocator mechanism differs between two treatments. In the coordinator treatment, the randomly selected allocator can set a uniform contribution for all group members, including herself. In the dictator treatment, the allocator can choose different contributions for herself and all other group members. We find that subjects willingly submit to authority in both treatments, even when competing with a voluntary contribution mechanism. The allocator groups achieve high contribution levels in both treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: allocator; public goods game; self-selection, institution choice, power allocator; public goods game; self-selection, institution choice, power
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Fleiß, J.; Palan, S. Of Coordinators and Dictators: A Public Goods Experiment. Games 2013, 4, 584-607.

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