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More than outcomes: A cognitive dissonance-based explanation of other-regarding behavior

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  • Astrid Matthey

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany)

  • Tobias Regner

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, Germany)

Abstract

Recent research has cast some doubt on the general validity of outcome-based models of social preferences. We develop a model based on cognitive dissonance that focuses on the importance of self-image. An experiment (a dictator game variant) tests the model. First, we find that subjects whose choices involve two psychologically inconsistent cognitions indeed report higher levels of experienced conflict and take more time for their decisions (our proxies for cognitive dissonance). Second, we find support for the main model components. An individual's self-image, the sensitivity to cognitive dissonance, and expected behavior of others have a positive effect on other-regarding behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2011-024.

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Date of creation: 27 May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2011-024

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Keywords: social preferences; other-regarding behavior; self-image; experiments; cognitive dissonance; social norms; normative beliefs; expectations;

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  1. Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. Grossman, Zachary, 2010. "Self-Signaling Versus Social-Signaling in Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7320x2cp, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Florian Artinger & Filippos Exadaktylos & Hannes Koppel & Lauri Sääksvuori, 2010. "Applying Quadratic Scoring Rule transparently in multiple choice settings: A note," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-021, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
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