We experimentally investigate the impact of visibility of information about contributors on contributions in the public goods game. We systematically consider several treatments that are similar to a wide range of situations in practice. First, we vary the cost of viewing identifiable information about contributors. Second, we vary recognizing all, top or bottom contributors. We find that recognizing all contributors significantly increases contributions relative to the baseline. Recognizing only the top contributors is not significantly different from not recognizing contributors, but recognizing only the bottom contributors is as effective as recognizing all contributors. When viewing information about contributors is costly, there is no significant difference in contributions as compared to the case where all contributors are displayed by default. This effect holds even though the identities of contributors are viewed less than ten percent of the time.
Savikhin, A.and Sheremeta, R.M. (2010). Visibility of contributions and cost of inflation: An experiment on public goods. ESI Working Paper 10-20. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/esi_working_papers/111