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Measuring indirect reciprocity: Whose back do we scratch?

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  • Stanca, Luca

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental investigation of strong indirect reciprocity. We examine both generalized indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then B helps C) and social indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then C helps A) in a setting where reciprocal behavior cannot be explained by strategic motivations, using a treatment for direct reciprocity as a benchmark. We use a variant of the strategy method to control for differences in first movers' actions across treatments. We find evidence of strong reciprocity within each treatment, for both strategies and decisions. Generalized indirect reciprocity is found to be significantly stronger than social indirect reciprocity and, interestingly, than direct reciprocity. This finding is interpreted as reflecting the relevance of first movers' motivation for second movers' reciprocal behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 190-202

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:2:p:190-202

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Keywords: Reciprocity Cooperation Microeconomic behavior Experimental economics;

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  1. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews, 2002. "Social Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0229, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  2. Greiner, Ben & Vittoria Levati, M., 2005. "Indirect reciprocity in cyclical networks: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 711-731, October.
  3. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  5. Seinen, Ingrid & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Social status and group norms: Indirect reciprocity in a repeated helping experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-602, April.
  6. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1998. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," Research in Economics 98-08-073e, Santa Fe Institute.
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  8. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
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  11. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  12. Olof Leimar & Peter Hammerstein, 2003. "Evolution of Cooperation Through Indirect Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000794, David K. Levine.
  13. Luca Stanca, Luigino Bruni, Luca Corazzini, 2007. "Testing Theories of Reciprocity: Does Motivation Matter?," ISLA Working Papers 29, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  14. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  15. Gachter, Simon & Falk, Armin, 2002. " Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 1-26.
  16. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  17. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
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  20. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sarah Jacobson & Ragan Petrie, 2012. "Favor Trading in Public Good Provision," Working Papers 1032, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  2. Luca Stanca & Luigino Bruni & Marco Mantovani, 2009. "The Effect of Motivations on Social Indirect Reciprocity: an Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 169, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2009.
  3. Liang, Pinghan & Meng, Juanjuan, 2013. "Love me, love my dog: an experimental study on social connections and indirect reciprocity," MPRA Paper 45270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2014. "Strategic Trustworthiness via Unstrategic Third-party Reward – An Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2014_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  5. Sven Fischer & Werner Güth, 2011. "Effects of exclusion on social preferences," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_34, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  6. Sven Fischer & Werner Güth, 2011. "Effects of exclusion on social preferences," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-053, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  7. Herne, Kaisa & Lappalainen, Olli & Kestilä-Kekkonen, Elina, 2013. "Experimental comparison of direct, general, and indirect reciprocity," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 38-46.
  8. Luca Stanca, 2011. "Social science and neuroscience: how can they inform each other?," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(3), pages 243-256, September.
  9. Fischer, Sven & Güth, Werner, 2012. "Effects of exclusion on acceptance in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1100-1114.

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