This paper experimentally examines how information affects behavior in a threshold public goods game. Three treatments investigate how subjects react to varying amounts of information about the contribution behavior of other group members. Results suggest that revealing anonymous information about others' contributions leads to a significant decrease in contributions and an increase in the variance of contributions. In contrast, when individual contributions are identified by subject number, average contributions increase and the variance of contributions decreases significantly.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Correspondence and reprint requests should be sent to Rachel Croson, 1322 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, Department of OPIM, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6366. * The authors thank the Center on Philanthropy and the Lilly Foundation for funding this research, Lorin Hitt for econometrics guidance, and students at Longwood College for help in running the experiment. Thanks also to participants in the Economic Science Association 1996 Fall meetings and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. An application of this experiment to nonprofit sector fundraising is addressed in a practitioner-oriented paper, Marks and Schansberg (1997).