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Faculty of Economics

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Elliott, M. and Golub, B.

A Network Approach to Public Goods

Journal of Political Economy

Vol. 127 no. 2 pp. 730-776 (2019)

Abstract: Suppose that agents can exert costly effort that creates nonrival, heterogeneous benefits for each other. At each possible outcome, a weighted, directed network describing marginal externalities is defined. We show that Pareto efficient outcomes are those at which the largest eigenvalue of the network is 1. An important set of efficient solutions—Lindahl outcomes—are characterized by contributions being proportional to agents’ eigenvector centralities in the network. The outcomes we focus on are motivated by negotiations. We apply the results to identify who is essential for Pareto improvements, how to efficiently subdivide negotiations, and whom to optimally add to a team.

Keywords: collective action, externalities, public goods, network centrality, implementation theory, Lindahl equilibrium

JEL Codes: J40

Author links: Matthew Elliott  

Publisher's Link: https://doi.org/10.1086/701032



Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: A Network Approach to Public Goods, Elliott, M. and Golub, B., (2018)

Papers and Publications



Recent Publications


Faraglia, E., Marcet, A., Oikonomou, R. and Scott, A. Government Debt management: the Short and the Long of it Review of Economic Studies [2019]

Elliott, M. and Golub, B. A Network Approach to Public Goods Journal of Political Economy [2019]

Li, Z. M., Laeven, R. J. A. and Vellekoop, M. H. Dependent Microstructure Noise and Integrated Volatility: Estimation from High-Frequency Data Journal of Econometrics [2020]

Aidt, T. S., Albornoz, F. and Hauk, E. Foreign Influence and Domestic Policy Journal of Economic Literature [2021]