Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

James C. Cox

Second Advisor

Vjollca Sadiraj

Third Advisor

Michael K. Price

Fourth Advisor

Dennis R. Young


This dissertation includes three chapters that utilize experimental methods to answer questions relating to social choices. Social choice is a broad category that can incorporate an individual’s choices when it comes to charitable giving, providing a public good or creating externalities through one’s choices.

In the first chapter “To Be or Not To Be Corrupt: An Experimental Study on Bribery” I designed a modified version of the bribery game used in Abbink et al. (2002) to study whether information on the prevalence of bribery activity within the experimental environment has an effect on behavior. In addition it also tests whether this prevalence effect can be reduced by implementing a strict punishment.

In the second chapter “Can Cooperative Behavior Improve Efficiency in Public Good Provision?” laboratory experiments are used to test whether information about the cooperative behavior of the group members in a trust game affects contribution to a public good game. The first part of the design utilizes a trust game to measure the cooperative behavior of the subjects. This information is provided in the public goods game to see if there is an effect on contributions. The essay also looks at if there is an effect on contribution, and if that effect lasts over time or it merges towards a selfish-man equilibrium of no contribution.

The third chapter “Means and Ends in Charitable Giving for Environmental Protection: A Discussion” conducts a discussion on the charitable giving literature related to environmental charities and builds a simple model of warm glow to show that the attributes of an environmental charity may affect giving. The model can also be used to consider attributes on how the money is used. For example, whether there is a difference when a market-based mechanism like Payment for Environmental Services (PES) is used versus more traditional mechanism like education on alternative livelihood. It then proposes a possible design for a field experiment to test the hypotheses.