We study two generic versions of public goods problems: in Provision problems, the public good does not exist initially and needs to be provided; in Maintenance problems, the public good already exists and needs to be maintained. In four lab and online experiments (n = 2,105), we document a robust asymmetry in preferences and perceptions in two incentive -equivalent versions of these public good problems. We find fewer conditional cooperators and more free riders in Maintenance than Provision, a difference that is replicable, stable, and reflected in perceptions of kindness. Incentivized control questions administered before gameplay reveal dilemma-specific misperceptions but controlling for them neither eliminates game-dependent conditional cooperation, nor differences in perceived kindness of others' cooperation. Thus, even when sharing the same game form, Maintenance and Provision are different social dilemmas that require separate behavioral analyses.(C) 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc.

Preferences and perceptions in Provision and Maintenance public goods

Simone Quercia
2022

Abstract

We study two generic versions of public goods problems: in Provision problems, the public good does not exist initially and needs to be provided; in Maintenance problems, the public good already exists and needs to be maintained. In four lab and online experiments (n = 2,105), we document a robust asymmetry in preferences and perceptions in two incentive -equivalent versions of these public good problems. We find fewer conditional cooperators and more free riders in Maintenance than Provision, a difference that is replicable, stable, and reflected in perceptions of kindness. Incentivized control questions administered before gameplay reveal dilemma-specific misperceptions but controlling for them neither eliminates game-dependent conditional cooperation, nor differences in perceived kindness of others' cooperation. Thus, even when sharing the same game form, Maintenance and Provision are different social dilemmas that require separate behavioral analyses.(C) 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1072992
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