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Reciprocity networks and the participation problem

Journal article
Authors Martin Dufwenberg
Amrish Patel
Published in Games and Economic Behavior
Volume 101
Pages 260-272
ISSN 0899-8256
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economics
Pages 260-272
Language en
Keywords Discrete public good, Participation, Reciprocity networks, Coordination, Cost-sharing, discrete public-goods, voluntary contributions, rebate rules, provision, cooperation, competition, fairness, altruism, games, Business & Economics
Subject categories Economics and Business


Reciprocity can be a powerful motivation for human behaviour. Scholars have argued that it is relevant in the context of private provision of public goods. We examine whether reciprocity can resolve the associated coordination problem. The interaction of reciprocity with cost-sharing is critical. Neither cost-sharing nor reciprocity in isolation can solve the problem, but together they have that potential. We introduce new network notions of reciprocity relations to better understand this. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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