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Published 1985 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Public Goods Provision in an Experimental Environment


[Introduction] The problem of public goods provision has been central to many areas of economics. The traditional economic models, resting on assumptions about nonexcludability and single-period behavior, led directly to a prediction that social decision processes which rely upon voluntary individual payment for the provision of public goods cannot work [see, for example, Feldman ( 1980)]. According to such models people will not voluntarily pay. Because the profit incentive cannot operate naturally to induce supply in an ordinary market setting, public goods serve as a classic model of market failure and exist as the foundation for many modern theories of government.

Additional Information

© 1985 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (North-Holland). The substance of this paper was delivered at the Public Choice Society meeting in San Francisco in the spring of 1980. The financial support of the National Science Foundation and the Caltech Program for the Enterprise and Public Policy is gratefully acknowledged. Professor Plott also wishes to acknowledge the support of the Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences.

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August 19, 2023
October 26, 2023