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Moral judgments in social dilemmas: How bad is free riding?

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  • Cubitt, Robin P.
  • Drouvelis, Michalis
  • Gächter, Simon
  • Kabalin, Ruslan

Abstract

In the last thirty years, economists and other social scientists have investigated people's normative views on distributive justice. Here we study people's normative views in social dilemmas, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance. Using insights from moral philosophy and psychology we provide an analysis of the morality of free riding. We use experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically. We vary others' contributions, the framing ("give-some" versus "take-some") and whether contributions are simultaneous or sequential. We find that moral judgments of a free rider depend strongly on others' behaviour; and that failing to give is condemned more strongly than withdrawing all support.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 253-264

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:3-4:p:253-264

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Moral judgments Moral psychology Framing effects Public goods experiments Free riding;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Erte Xiao & Fangfang Tan, 2014. "Justification and Legitimate Punishment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 170(1), pages 168-188, March.
  2. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Reinhard Selten & Daniel Wiesen, 2011. "How Payment Systems Affect Physicians' Provision Behaviour – An Experimental Investigation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse03_2011, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Godager, Geir & Wiesen, Daniel, 2013. "Profit or patients’ health benefit? Exploring the heterogeneity in physician altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1105-1116.
  4. Fangfang Tan & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Peer Punishment with Third-Party Approval in a Social Dilemma Game," Working Papers peer_punishment_with_thir, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  5. Robin P. Cubitt & Michalis Drouvelis & Simon Gächter, 2008. "Framing and Free Riding: Emotional Responses and Punishment in Social Dilemma Games," Discussion Papers 2008-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  6. Simon Gaechter, 2014. "Human Pro-Social Motivation and the Maintenance of Social Order," CESifo Working Paper Series 4729, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2011. "Animal Welfare and Social Decisions," Working Papers in Economics 485, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Alessandro Lanteri, 2010. "A note on the Trolley Problem and Three Weaknesses of Economic Theory," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(1), pages 500-507.
  9. Michalis Drouvelis & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Are happier people less judgmental of other people's selfish behaviors? Laboratory evidence from trust and gift exchange games," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Johannes Abeler & Daniele Nosenzo, 2013. "Self-selection into Economics Experiments is Driven by Monetary Rewards," Discussion Papers 2013-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

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