Commitment: An Experimental Analysis of Self-Governance in Two Social Dilemmas

Enrique Fatas, Abhijit Ramalingam, Sara Godoy

Research output: Working paper


We analyse how the collective action problem can be solved in social dilemmas through self-governance under some conditions. We systematically manipulate the amount and quality of social information in two social dilemmas with or without complementarities: the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism (VCM) and the Weakest Link Mechanism (WLM). Games are identically framed as simple allocation problems. We show that information plays a non-trivial and non-linear role: it largely helps subjects to solve the collective action problem when information is traceable, yet still anonymous. This allows for the emergence of strongly committed subjects who fully contribute their individual endowment to the public good for long periods of time. Whenever such strongly committed subjects show up, there is no under provision of the public good, independently of the existence of complementarities. However, the emergence of strongly committed subjects is significantly more likely in the WLM.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013

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