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Funding a new bridge in rural Vietnam: a field experiment on social influence and default contributions - Oxford Economic Papers

Funding a new bridge in rural Vietnam:

a field experiment on social influence and default contributions

Oxford Economic Papers

Fredrik Carlsson, Olof Johansson-Stenman and Pham Khanh Nam

Author Affiliations

  • Fredrik Carlsson, Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg; e-mail: fredrik.carlsson@economics.gu.se
  • Olof Johansson-Stenman, Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg; email: olof.johansson@economics.gu.se
  • Pham Khanh Nam, School of Economics, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City; email: khanhnam@ueh.edu.vn

Abstract

Public goods provision is essential for economic development. Yet there is limited evidence regarding contributions to local public goods in developing countries. This article analyses a field experiment where all 200 households in a village in rural Vietnam make real contributions to a public good that is very important for them in daily life—a bridge. We study the role of social influence (that people may be more willing to co-operate if others do) and the effects of the default alternative in the choice situation. We find significant and substantial (in the order of magnitude of 15–25%) effects of both social influence and defaults but only when providing low reference or default contributions.

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