"...providing public goods optimally and fairly is difficult, Rangel notes, because the group leadership doesn't have the necessary information. And when people are asked how much they value a particular public good—with that value measured in terms of how many of their own tax dollars, for instance, they’d be willing to put into it—their tendency is to lowball.but now with new technology there are ways to determine what you really are thinking:
Why? “People can enjoy the good even if they don’t pay for it,” explains Rangel. 'Underreporting its value to you will have a small effect on the final decision by the group on whether to buy the good, but it can have a large effect on how much you pay for it.'
In other words, he says, “There’s an incentive for you to lie about how much the good is worth to you"
"In their series of experiments, the scientists tried to determine whether functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) could allow them to construct informative measures of the value a person assigns to one or another public good. Once they’d determined that fMRI images—analyzed using pattern-classification techniques—can confer at least some information (albeit "noisy" and imprecise) about what a person values, they went on to test whether that information could help them solve the free-rider problem."
Wow. Talk about a game changer! Imagine what would happen if people actually correctly valued commonly held goods. For instance, would spending on national parks go up or down?
Interesting to say the least.