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Social distance in a virtual world experiment

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  • Fiedler, Marina
  • Haruvy, Ernan
  • Li, Sherry Xin
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    Abstract

    We conduct a quasi-field experiment in a virtual world environment to investigate the impact of social distance on economic choices. We design trust games with partner selection, in which the proposer chooses between a familiar responder and a stranger with a higher multiplier. When choosing between the two responders, the proposer faces tradeoffs between economic opportunities and social distance. Comparing participants' behaviors to those in a standalone trust game, we find that in the virtual world experiment the proposers are more likely to select the socially closer responders despite the lower rate of investment returns, and the latter reciprocate by returning a higher proportion than the socially distant responders. Virtual communication also plays an important role on the proposers' choice and the responders' reciprocity. In contrast, social distance and virtual communication have less impact in the lab with a student sample.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

    Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 400-426

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:72:y:2011:i:2:p:400-426

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

    Related research

    Keywords: Experiments Social distance Trust Partner selection Communication Cheap talk Virtual worlds;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Sarah Jacobson & Jason Delaney, 2013. "Those Outsiders: How Downstream Externalities Affect Public Good Provision," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    2. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Kuhn, Michael A., 2013. "Experimental methods: Extra-laboratory experiments-extending the reach of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 93-100.
    3. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & McCabe, Kevin & Twieg, Peter, 2014. "Can more be less? An experimental test of the resource curse," MPRA Paper 55381, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Delaney, Jason & Jacobson, Sarah, 2014. "Those outsiders: How downstream externalities affect public good provision," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 340-352.
    5. Christoph Safferling & Aaron Lowen, 2011. "Economics in the Kingdom of Loathing: Analysis of Virtual Market Data," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-30, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.

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