NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Katherine R.H. Wagner

Department of Economics
Yale University
28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511

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Institutional Affiliation: Yale University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2019Crowding In with Impure Altruism: Theory and Evidence from Volunteerism in National Parks
with Matthew Kotchen: w26445
This paper makes three contributions to the literature on private provision of public goods. First, we identify limitations of the frequently used specification test that distinguishes between the standard models of pure and impure altruism based on the extent of crowding out. While the literature takes as given the result that crowding out should be less with impure altruism compared with pure altruism, we show that, in general, it can be either more or less. Second, we propose a more general test based on the presence of crowding in, rather than the extent of crowding out. Third, we provide empirical evidence. Using a unique panel data set on volunteerism in U.S. National Parks, we estimate the causal effect of changes in public funding within parks on the amount of within-park volunteer...
 
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