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Kocher, Martin G.; Tan, Fangfang; Yu, Jing (2018): Providing Global Public Goods: Electoral Delegation And Cooperation. In: Economic Inquiry, Vol. 56, No. 1: pp. 381-397
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This study experimentally examines the effect of electoral delegation on providing global public goods shared by several groups. Each group elects one delegate who can freely decide on each group member's contribution to the global public goods. Our results show that people mostly vote for delegates who assign equal contributions for every group member. However, in contrast to standard theoretical predictions for our delegation mechanism, unequal contributions across groups drive cooperation down over time, and it decreases efficiency by almost 50% compared to the selfish benchmark. This pattern is not driven by delegates trying to exploit their fellow group members, as indicated by theory. It is driven by conditional cooperation of delegates across groups. Since one of the potential sources of the resulting inefficiency is the polycentric nature of global public goods provision together with other-regarding preferences, we use the term P-inefficiency to describe our finding.