Civic Engagement as a Second Order Public Good: The Cooperative Underpinnings of the Accountable State
Society’s members can address the dilemma of public goods provision by empowering a state to collect taxes with penalties for non-compliance. There remains a dilemma of collective action: a prerequisite for an accountable state is sufficient civic engagement. This 2nd order dilemma of civic engagement might be tractable, however, because it delivers the gain of accountable state power at modest cost. In a framed laboratory experiment, we find that low cost civic engagement is sustained, as opposed to decaying in the manner of 1st order collective action, a first such result in the literature on institutions creation.