An Economic Approach to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science: With An Application to the Public Goods Game

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Citation: Luigi Butera, John A. List (2017/05/07) An Economic Approach to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science: With An Application to the Public Goods Game.



Download: https://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers/papers/00608.pdf

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Summary:

Stylized facts relevant to paper paper from public goods contribution literature (quotes sans references):

  1. initial contributions to public goods typically exceed zero, what the Nash equilibrium would predict.
  2. cooperation tends to unfold over time a tendency linked to the presence of heterogeneous preferences such as self-interest, altruism, and conditional cooperation
  3. centralized institutions, such as taxation, competition, and voting rules, and decentralized institutions, such as communication, moral and monetary sanctioning and rewards, all contribute to various degrees to promote cooperation

Contribution of this paper is to add Knightian uncertainty (ambiguity) about payoffs. Find that increased ambiguity results in more cooperation, possibly because impact of free riding harder to discern.

Authors have committed to never publish paper in a peer-reviewed journal, but will publish with new authors who pre-register a replication study. This protocol could address problems with of non-replicated and thus questionable results and lack of incentives to replicate.

Theoretical and practical relevance:

A replication attempt has been registered at https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2142

Discussed at http://www.digitopoly.org/2017/04/15/economists-found-something-surprising-and-you-wont-believe-what-happened-next/