To tender or not to tender? Deliberate and exogenous sunk costs in a public good game

Florian Heine, M. Sefton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In an experimental study, we compare individual willingness to cooperate in a public good game after an initial team contest phase. While players in the treatment setup make a conscious decision on how much to invest in the contest, this decision is exogenously imposed on players in the control setup. As such, both groups of players incur sunk costs and enter the public good game with different wealth levels. Our results indicate that the way these sunk costs have been accrued matters especially for groups on the losing side of the contest: Given the same level of sunk costs, contributions to the public good are lower for groups which failed to be successful in the preceding between-group contest. Furthermore, this detrimental effect is more pronounced for individuals who play a contest with deliberate contributions before.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalGames
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • sunk costs
  • Public Goods
  • contest
  • experiment

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