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Visibility of Contributions and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods

By Anya Savikhin Samek

Purdue University

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Abstract

We experimentally investigate the impact of visibility of information about contributors on contributions in the public goods game (as applicable to the nanoHUB.org). We systematically consider several treatments that are similar to a wide range of situations in practice. First, we vary the cost of viewing identifiable information about contributors. Second, we vary recognizing all versus top contributors. We find that recognizing all contributors significantly increases contributions relative to the baseline. Recognizing only the top contributors is not significantly different from not recognizing contributors. When viewing information about contributors is costly, there is no significant difference in contributions as compared to the case where all contributors are displayed by default. This effect holds even though the identities of contributors are viewed less than 10% of the time.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Anya Savikhin Samek (2010), "Visibility of Contributions and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," http://nanohub.org/resources/9082.

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nanoHUB.org, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.