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Immoral criminals? An experimental study of social preferences among prisoners

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Author Info

  • Birkeland, Sigbjørn

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

This paper studies the pro-social preferences of criminals by comparing the behavior of a group of prisoners in a lab experiment with the behavior of a benchmark group recruited from the general population. We find a striking similarity in the importance the two groups attach to pro-social preferences in both in strategic and non-strategic situations. This result also holds when the two groups interact. Data from a large internet experiment,matched with official criminal records, suggest that our main finding from the lab experiment is not influenced by the additional scrutiny experienced by participants in prison.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 15/2011.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2011_015

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Related research

Keywords: Pro-social preferences; Criminals; Lab experiment;

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References

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  2. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2003. "Behavioral Game Theory. Experiments in Strategic Interaction: Colin F. Camerer, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2003, p. 550, Price $65.00/[UK pound]42.95, ISBN 0-691-09039-4," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 717-720, December.
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  13. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Criminals like us
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-11-01 14:34:22
  2. What a waste
    by Eric Crampton in Offsetting Behaviour on 2011-11-01 21:12:00

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