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Honestly, why are you donating money to charity? An experimental study about self-awareness in status- seeking behavior

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  • Mitesh Kataria

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

  • Tobias Regner

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

Abstract

This study investigates experimentally whether people in retrospective are self-aware that they engage in status-seeking behavior. Subjects participated in a real-effort task where effort translated into a donation to a charity. Within-subjects we varied the visibility of their performance (private/public feedback). On average subjects exerted more effort in the public treatment. After the real effort task subjects were asked to state their retrospective beliefs about their performance in public given feedback about their performance in private, and about the performance of other subjects in public given the average performance in private. Between-subjects we varied the compensation (low/high) for accurate estimates. Our results show a lack of self-awareness about status-seeking behavior that is robust to increased belief compensation. We also found that subjects expected others to be as status-seeking as they are themselves or even less.

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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 2012-032.

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Date of creation: 02 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-032

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Keywords: Social status; self-image; self-awareness; self-deception; experiment; beliefs;

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  1. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  2. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2007. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Discussion Papers 07-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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  9. repec:clg:wpaper:2001-02 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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  13. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
  14. Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 75-98, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Matteo. Ploner & Tobias Regner, 2013. "Self-Image and Moral Balancing - An Experimental Analysis," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-002, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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