Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Strategic Ignorance and the Robustness of Social Preferences

Contents:

Author Info

  • Grossman, Zachary

Abstract

How robust are social preferences to variations in the environment in which a decision is made? By varying the elicitation method and default choice in the `moral wiggle-room' game of Dana, Weber, and Kuang (2007), I examine the robustness and nature of the pattern of information avoidance in which many dictators in experiments-- if initially uncertain-- avoid learning whether their choice will help or hurt another person and choose selfishly. When ignorance is not the default choice, participants choose it much less frequently. However, when dictators express their outcome choice using the strategy method, most are willing to overcome the default choice and reveal the payoff state ex post. I conclude that people will employ strategic ignorance to avoid a morally-fraught decision if they can do so passively, but having to actively choose ignorance betrays its usefulness and leads to behavior largely consistent with models of preferences over outcomes. Thus while opportunities to create and exploit moral wiggle-room limit fair-minded behavior, environmental or psychological variables may reinforce the motivation that leads people to choose fair outcomes.

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.escholarship.org/uc/item/60b93868.pdf;origin=repeccitec
Download Restriction: no

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 qt60b93868.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 12 Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt60b93868

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2127 North Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9210
Phone: (805) 893-3670
Fax: (805) 893-8830
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/ucsbecon_dwp/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: social preferences; strategic ignorance; moral wiggle-room; default effects; status quo bias; self- deception; self-signaling; dictator games; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Other Economics;

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. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
  4. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
  5. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2008. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," IEW - Working Papers 380, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
  8. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Charness, Gary B & Jackson, Matthew O., 2007. "The Role of Responsibility in Strategic Risk-Taking," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2mk4p42w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  10. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  11. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  13. Lucas C. Coffman, 2011. "Intermediation Reduces Punishment (and Reward)," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 77-106, November.
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. James Andreoni & Justin M. Rao, 2010. "The Power of Asking: How Communication Affects Selfishness, Empathy, and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 16373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grossman, Zachary & Oexl, Regine, 2011. "Delegating to a Powerless Intermediary: Does It Reduce Punishment?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0119d201, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. James Andreoni & Justin M. Rao & Hannah Trachtman, 2011. "Avoiding The Ask: A Field Experiment on Altruism, Empathy, and Charitable Giving," NBER Working Papers 17648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Regine Oexl & Zachary Grossman, 2013. "Shifting the blame to a powerless intermediary," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 306-312, September.
  5. Gary Charness & Aldo Rustichini & Jeroen van de Ven, 2011. "Self-Confidence and Strategic Deterrence," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-151/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Aldo Rustichini & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2012. "Moral Hypocrisy, Power and Social Preferences," Working Papers 1216, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  7. Grossman, Zachary, 2010. "Self-Signaling Versus Social-Signaling in Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7320x2cp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2012. "‘Hiding behind a small cake’ in a newspaper dictator game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 82-85.
  9. Matteo. Ploner & Tobias Regner, 2013. "Self-Image and Moral Balancing - An Experimental Analysis," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-002, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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:cdl:ucsbec:qt60b93868. 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: (Lisa Schiff).

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.