Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness
AbstractWhat makes individuals conform or diverge after observing prosocial or selfish behavior by others? We study experimentally how social comparison (observing a peer’s behavior) interacts with identity motives for cooperation. Participants play two games. We increase the strength of the identity motive by inducing subjects in a treatment condition to infer their identity from behavior in the first game. Cooperators who observe a peer defect donate 28% more to their unknown partner in the second game in the treatment than in the control group. Our results are consistent with the predictions of Bénabou and Tirole (2011), and show that the "suckerto- saint effect" identified by Jordan and Monin (2008) can have important behavioral consequences.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 750.
Date of creation: 02 Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Manufacture des Tabacs, Aile Jean-Jacques Laffont, 21 Allée de Brienne, 31000 TOULOUSE
Phone: +33 (0)5 61 12 85 89
Fax: + 33 (0)5 61 12 86 37
Web page: http://www.idei.fr/
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
- A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
- D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
- D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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.:
- Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008.
"Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: Evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1047-1060, June.
- Alpizar, Francisco & Carlson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica," Discussion Papers dp-08-03-efd, Resources For the Future.
- Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2007. "Anonymity, Reciprocity, and Conformity: Evidence from Voluntary Contributions to a National Park in Costa Rica," Working Papers in Economics 245, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
- Butler, Jeffrey V. & Giuliano, Paola & Guiso, Luigi, 2012.
"Trust and Cheating,"
IZA Discussion Papers
6961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Butler, Jeff & Giuliano, Paola & Guiso, Luigi, 2012. "Trust and Cheating," CEPR Discussion Papers 9202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Jeffrey V. Butler & Paola Giuliano & Luigi Guiso, 2012. "Trust and Cheating," NBER Working Papers 18509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeffrey Butler & Paola Giuliano & Luigi Guiso, 2012. "Trust and Cheating," EIEF Working Papers Series 1213, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2012.
- Rachel Croson & Jen Shang, 2008.
"The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions,"
Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 221-233, September.
- Rachel Croson & Jen Shang, 2008. "The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions," Natural Field Experiments 00322, The Field Experiments Website.
- Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
- Armin Falk & Florian Zimmermann, 2011.
"Preferences for Consistency,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
3528, CESifo Group Munich.
- Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009.
"Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-55, March.
- Ariely, Dan & Bracha, Anat & Meier, Stephan, 2007. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," IZA Discussion Papers 2968, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2007. "Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially," Working Papers 07-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996.
9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- 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.
- Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
- Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, .
"Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior - Testing ‘Conditional Cooperation’ in a Field Experiment,"
IEW - Working Papers
162, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
- Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
- Sugden, Robert, 1984. "Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 772-87, December.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011.
"Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
- Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2006. "Identity, Morals and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," Open Access publications from University of Toulouse 1 Capitole http://neeo.univ-tlse1.fr, University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.
- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
- Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.