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Resisting Moral Wiggle Room: How Robust is Reciprocity?

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Author Info

  • van der Weele, Joël

    ()
    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Kulisa, Julija

    ()
    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Kosfeld, Michael

    ()
    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Friebel, Guido

    ()
    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract

Several studies have shown that dictator-game giving declines substantially if the dictator can exploit situational "excuses" for not being generous. In this experimental study we investigate if this result extends to more natural social interactions involving reciprocal behavior. We provide the second mover in a reciprocal game with an excuse for not reciprocating, an excuse which has previously been shown to strongly reduce giving in dictator games. We do not find that the availability of the excuse has any effect at all on reciprocal behavior, and conclude that reciprocity is a more stable disposition than dictator game generosity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5374.

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Length: 12 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: American Economic Journal: Microeconomics
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5374

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Keywords: moral wiggle room; reciprocity;

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  1. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1997. "The Moonlighting Game - An Experimental Study on Reciprocity and Retribution," Discussion Paper Serie B 415, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
  5. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
  6. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  7. Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  9. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Simon Gachter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "Peer Effects in Pro-Social Behaviour: Social Norms or Social Preferences?," Discussion Papers 2012-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

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