Although traditional economic theory suggests that this type of fundraising should be unsuccessful, the villagers in Giong Trom actually ended up with a brand new bridge.
In his experiment, economist Nam Pham Khanh at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that people are generally willing to cooperate and that social influences strongly affect how much individuals choose to contribute to a shared resource.
According to standard economic theory, people tend to ’free-ride’ on the efforts of others, simply because they see a personal benefit in doing so. This means that people are generally not willing to contribute to public goods, such as a bridge across the Mekong River in the village of Giong Trom in Vietnam.
However, researchers have in recent years been able to show that people often do have a willingness to cooperate to overcome social dilemmas. For example, Elinor Ostrom, political scientist and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics, has shown that people who share the responsibility to manage natural resources tend to find ways to do so in a long-term sustainable manner.
In his doctoral thesis, economist Nam Pham Khanh has studied human cooperation and how different types of social influences affect people’s behaviour and willingness to contribute to a shared resource.
Two hundred poor rice farmers in the village of Giong Trom were invited to contribute to the construction of a public bridge that would be free for everybody to use. Each family was given 400 000 dong (SEK 140) as a gift from the research project. They were told that in order for the bridge to be built, the villagers would have to contribute a total of 40 million dong, or 200 000 dong per family on average. Any additional costs would be paid by the research project.
The families were free to either keep the entire gift or contribute any part of it to the construction of the bridge. All contributions were made anonymously, so nobody in the village or the research project had any way of knowing how much any family had chosen to contribute. In case more money than needed would be collected, the extra amount would be returned to the villagers in proportion to their contributions.
The families were divided into five groups; different groups received different information. For example, the families in one group were told that after having interviewed other families in the village, the researchers had learned that one of the most common contributions was quite low – only 100 000 dong. The families in another group got to choose among a number of alternative donations listed on a board by moving a marker from zero to the desired contribution. In both of these groups, the average contribution was 20 percent lower than in the reference group, which did not receive any information at all.
Thus, the research results show that the size of a person’s contribution to a public good is affected both by information about the contributions of others and by provision of a default alternative.
’The results are potentially useful in developing countries, where the provision of public goods relies not only on governments but also on people’s voluntary contributions. We show that the design of information given to individuals influences the ability to provide public goods, which is critical to economic and social development,’ says Nam Pham Khanh.The study was supported by Sida´s Environmental Economics Capacity Building Programme.
For more information, please contact: Nam Pham Khanh +46 (0)31 786 47 59, email@example.com
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/24841 - Thesis
Helena Aaberg | idw
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research