Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Norms, cognitive dissonance, and cooperative behaviour in laboratory experiments

Contents:

Author Info

  • Philipp C. Wichardt

Abstract

Purpose – The paper emphasises the general relevance of social norms and social associations for cooperative behaviour in less or non-social economic contexts, focusing in particular on economic laboratory experiments, and to illustrate the underlying psychological driving forces. Design/methodology/approach – The argument focuses on the interplay between social norms, their psychological enforcement mechanism (cognitive dissonance) and context effects. Drawing on findings from both (social) psychology and experimental economics, it emphasises the relevance of social norms for cooperative behaviour also in less or non-social environments as often created in economic laboratory experiments. Moreover, the conditions for cognitive dissonance effects to occur are summarised and the corresponding behavioural effects are both highlighted and exemplified by means of various examples including the analysis of a specific data set. Findings – The discussion strongly suggests that the influence of common cooperative social norms is difficult to “anonymise away” in laboratory experiments or other less socially focused decision environments. Moreover, it provides a possible explanation for the occurrence of a variety of behavioural patterns often found in such settings, such as initially high but decreasing willingness to cooperate in social dilemmas. Practical implications – Emphasising the far reach of social aspects in economic decision making, the discussion may help in the design of institutions as it illustrates a widespread source of non-economic individual incentives. Originality/value – The argument addresses the idiosyncrasies of individual cooperative behaviour in situations where economic incentives should hinder such behaviour. Adding to earlier arguments which explain such cooperation, for example, by reference to fairness concerns or inequity aversion, the present discussion emphasises in particular the specific psychological driving forces behind such behaviour. In doing so, it establishes a clear link to the research on cognitive dissonance in psychology.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0306-8293&volume=39&issue=5&articleid=17024512&show=abstract
Download Restriction: Cannot be freely downloaded

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 (May)
Pages: 342-356

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:39:y:2012:i:5:p:342-356

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com

Order Information:
Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
Email:
Web: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/ijse.htm

Related research

Keywords: Cognitive dissonance; Experimentation; individual behaviour; Laboratory experiments; Social norms;

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers, University of California at Berkeley 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching, EconWPA 0303002, EconWPA.
  3. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521853408.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9406 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-99, February.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Fehr, Ernst, 2008. "On the Economics and Biology of Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 3895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  9. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2004. "Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000108, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental, EconWPA 0409002, EconWPA.
  12. Philipp C. Wichardt, 2009. "A status-based motivation for behavioural altruism," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(8), pages 869-887, June.
  13. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers, University of California at Berkeley 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  14. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "Promises and Partnership," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000001, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21, February.
  16. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  17. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1998. "Gift exchange and reciprocity in competitive experimental markets," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5909, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  18. Philipp C. Wichardt, 2011. "Identity, Utility, and Cooperative Behaviour: An Evolutionary Perspective," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113, pages 418-443, 06.
  19. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  20. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
  21. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  22. Martin Beckenkamp & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Frank P. Maier-Rigaud, 2007. "Cooperation in Symmetric and Asymmetric Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_25, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Wichardt, Philipp C., 2007. "Why and How Identity Should Influence Utility," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 193, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:39:y:2012:i:5:p:342-356. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.