The Social Egoist
AbstractPeople cooperate more in one-shot interactions than can be explained by standard textbook preferences. We discuss a set of non-standard preferences that can accommodate such behavior. They are social, in the sense of incorporating the payoffs of other persons; they are also norm-based, in the sense of taking into account the behavior of other persons. We show theoretically that, with such preferences, a Nash equilibrium with a strictly positive cooperation rate can exist. We use experimental data on within-subject decisions to show that such preferences are empirically plausible. The data show that, in addition to the well-known types (egoist, altruist, reciprocator), there is an important group: the social egoist. Such individuals care for people who have cooperated, but ignore people who have broken the implicit cooperation norm in society. The social egoists, who turn out to be different from “conditional cooperators”, account for one third of the observations in our experiment.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2013:14.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 10 Oct 2013
Date of revision:
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Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
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social norms; prisoner’s dilemma; hawk-dove game; egoism; altruism; reciprocity; conditional cooperation;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-10-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2013-10-18 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2013-10-18 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2013-10-18 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2013-10-18 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2013-10-18 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2013-10-18 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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