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The Effect of Incomplete Information in a Threshold Public Goods Experiment

May 1996

Melanie Marks, Rachel Croson


This study done by Marks and Croson aims to address a commonly missed factor when it comes to voluntary contributions, not giving the contributors complete information. In all their former studies, the researchers had given their subjects complete information. In this study, the researchers chose to show the subjects incomplete information regarding the contribution behaviors of the group to test the effects of this change on contribution behavior. Marks and Croson came to the conclusion that incomplete information does not have any effect on the actual outcome of the experiment, and did not impact contribution behavior among the subjects of the study.

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Policy Implications

Policy makers can be encouraged by these results, as they give them more options for their fundraising techniques. The absence of information did not discourage donors from contributing to the public good project. This is good news for politicians looking to fundraise for public goods in order to avoid a hike in taxes.

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