Given that private rewards have mixed effectiveness in the realm of prosocial behaviors (Bénabou and Tirole, 2006), we explore whether a “public” reward (denominated in additional units of public good provision) successfully encourages prosocial behavior in the form of increased donations to a project aimed at improving atmospheric air quality. Our experiment consists of a dictator game designed to address 1) if the presence of a goal increases voluntary contributions to improving environmental quality, and 2) if an additional public reward further increases voluntary contributions. We find a significant goal effect overall, yet no added public reward effect.
The impact of goals and public rewards on a prosocial behaviour: an exploratory economic experiment
4 July 2014