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Internalized Contribution Norms and Learning in a Public Goods Experiment in Ghana

PFM, Vol. 10 No. 2, (2010)

This paper links a utility theoretic model based on internalized norms with the results from a novel public good experiment in Ghana. The results indicate that, on average, people are motivated by condition- al cooperation or reciprocity: i.e. they want to contribute more if others have contributed more in the previous round. We also find evidence of learning, in the sense that people’s contributions decrease over time even when others’ contributions are held constant. Moreover, our results indicate that the decision to contribute or not does not depend on the size of the contribution of others.

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