Following some recent studies, we experimentally test the effect of intra-group leadership in a public good experiment. Specifically, individuals taking part in our experiment are randomly assigned either the role of leader or the role of follower. Leaders take part in a public good game, aware of the fact that every decision they make directly affects their followers. In this sense, our experimental setting combines the dimension of leadership in cooperation with the one of delegated agents. In our experiment, we find that leadership produces two main effects: subjects contribute more, and tend to punish more frequently. In spite of the presence of higher contributions, we observe lower payoffs; these are caused by an aggressive behavior that push leaders to mane an undue use of punishment. Allowing one-sided communication between followers and leaders provide a different effect: communication reduces decision makers’ aggressiveness, leading to lower contributions and punishment, but better results in terms of final payoffs. The same welfare can be reached when leadership is not implemented at all; this suggests that the presence of a dictatorial leader in public goods with punishment can be beneficial only when there is communication.
|Keywords:||Voluntary contribution experiment, Leadership, Punishment|
|JEL:||C72 C92 H41 O12|