Empathy, Guilt-Aversion and Patterns of Reciprocity
AbstractThis paper reports the results of an experiment aimed at investigating the link between empathy, anticipated guilt and pro-social behavior. In particular we test the hypothesis that empathy modulates the anticipatory effect of guilt in bargaining situations and, more specifically, that it correlates with subjects’ willingness to give and to repay trust in an investment game. We also control for the effect of individual risk attitude. Our main results show that empathy significantly influences players’ pattern of restitution in the investment game and that risk-propensity weakly affects the decision to trust; we also find a significant gender difference in the distribution of empathy. These results seem to indicate that empathy affects pro-social behavior in a more complex way than previously hypothesized by existing models of social preferences.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia in its series Working Paper CRENoS with number 201108.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
trust; reciprocity; guilt-aversion; empathy;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-06-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2011-06-25 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2011-06-25 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2011-06-25 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2011-06-25 (Game Theory)
- NEP-NEU-2011-06-25 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2011-06-25 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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- Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Papa Stefano, 2011. "Trust, reciprocity and altruism: An impossible addition," wp.comunite 0082, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
- 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.
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