How Do Public Goods Providers Play Public Goods Games?

Daniel M Butler, Thaddeus Kousser

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    We study how policymakers play public goods games, and how their behavior compares to the typical subjects we study, by conducting parallel experiments on college undergraduates and American state legislators. We find that the legislators play public goods games more cooperatively and more consistently than the undergraduates. Legislators are also less responsive to treatments that involve social elements but are more likely to respond to additional information that they receive. Further, legislators' fixed characteristics explain much of the variation in how legislators play the game. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding how institutions affect the provision of public goods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-240
    Number of pages30
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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