Investigations on the voluntary provision of local and global public goods

This doctoral thesis is based on six chapters and five related but distinct research articles and contributes to the exceedingly growing literature in behavioral environmental economics. Primarily, this thesis aims at designing and testing institutional mechanisms that successfully address social dilemmas at the core of a variety of environmental challenges arising on different scales at the global and local level. After an introductory chapter, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 address aspects of international climate negotiations to testbed institutions that aim to foster cooperation among sovereign and heterogeneous agents at the global level. Chapter 2 investigates whether groups are able to reach an agreement on how to share the costs of providing a public good. By capturing pre-existing public good provision levels, Chapter 3 gives agents the opportunity to increase contributions to the public good beyond a status-quo, maintain the current level, or even undo pre-existing efforts. Chapter 4 forms the bridge to more localized public good problems. It takes into account that local and global public goods are not necessarily mutually exclusive and investigates whether agents' narrow concerns for local outcomes can harm efficiency at the global level. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 focus on more localized public good problems by taking into account that local public good problems have authorities with permissions to intervene and regulate de jure, but de facto costly monitoring and sanctioning can preclude the emergence of regulations. Chapter 4 tests the effects of non-enforced extraction limits on extraction behavior in a common-pool resource game. Chapter 5 tests if, how, and why the effect of a contribution rule in a public goods game depends on how the rule has been implemented: whether it was democratically chosen or externally imposed.


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