Ning Gong

Date of Graduation


Document Type



This dissertation is a set of four essays on the theory of voluntary contributions of public goods. The first essay discusses an individual's decision under uncertainty and suggests that a first-order prediction error only leads to a second-order utility loss to himself, but the utility change to the other people and the change of social welfare are first-order. It is also shown that the risk averse individuals would like to give precise information of their true levels of contributions under certain conditions. The second essay addresses the sustainability of the Pareto provision of public goods. The results of this paper suggest that individuals feel the temptation to cheat in a Pareto coalition. By applying Friedman's "trigger strategy," I derive sufficient conditions for the individuals to remain in the coalition in repeated game cases. The third essay studies the efficiency of charitable organizations in providing public goods. It is found that the individuals' reactions to the administrative efficiency are ambiguous. If the objective of a philanthropic intermediary is to maximize the output of the public good, then it will maximize its efficiency. However, in general, a budget maximizing organization does not necessarily need to act efficiently. The fourth essay proposes a reputational model of the private provision of public goods. I assume that an individual enjoys a good reputation in the community to the extent that he shares the costs of financing the public good. This model suggests the possible existence of a hill-shaped Nash reaction curve. Under certain parameter values, this paper offers an example to show that the dynamic trajectory derived from the hill-shaped reaction curve could be described as chaotic.