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Social Distance and Reciprocity: The Internet vs. the Laboratory

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  • Charness, Gary
  • haruvy, Ernan
  • Sonsino, Doron

Abstract

We explore the effects of social distance on reciprocal behavior in an experiment conducted over the Internet on three continents and in classroom laboratory sessions conducted in Israel and Spain. Our design elicits individual behavior profiles over a range of contingencies, enabling us to identify heterogeneity among our participants. We find that many people show regard for others, even with the apparent social distance inherent with Internet interaction. Even in a virtual experiment, about 28% of the population demonstrate what appears to be positive reciprocity. The classroom laboratory sessions minimize (anonymous) social distance. While the rate of positive reciprocity is higher (43%) with less social distance, the patterns in behavior are surprisingly similar across treatments. To the extent that reciprocity could be a feature of virtual international business, perhaps cooperative behavior is sustainable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt46r1282v.

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Date of creation: 13 Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt46r1282v

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Keywords: Internet Experiments; Lost-wallet Game; Reciprocity; Social Distance;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas, 2005. "Herding With and Without Payoff Externalities - An Internet Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5310, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Roider, Andreas & Mathias Drehmann & Jorg Oechssler, 2003. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets - An Internet Experiment," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003, Royal Economic Society 177, Royal Economic Society.

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