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The Pleasure of Being Nasty

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  • Klaus Abbink
  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

Many laboratory experiments show that people are often altruistic or care for fairness. We present data that reveal a darker side of human nature. We introduce the joy-of-destruction game. Two players each receive an endowment and simultaneously decide on how much of the other player’s endowment to destroy. Subjects play this game repeatedly. In one treatment, subjects can hide their destruction behind random destruction. In this treatment, money is destroyed in almost 40% of all decisions. We attribute this behavior to a visceral pleasure of being nasty. Under full information destruction is also observed, but rare. In this treatment, acts of destruction are followed by immediate retaliation.

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File URL: http://www.ww.uni-magdeburg.de/fwwdeka/femm/a2008_Dateien/2008_37.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management in its series FEMM Working Papers with number 08037.

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Length: 7 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:08037

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Keywords: Spite; nastiness; money-burning; anti-social behavior;

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  1. Daniel J. ZIZZO & Andrew J. OSWALD, 2001. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others'Incomes?," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 63-64, pages 39-65.
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  7. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  9. Matthias Cinyabuguma & Talbot Page & Louis Putterman, 2006. "Can second-order punishment deter perverse punishment?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, September.
  10. Jeremy Clark, 2002. "House Money Effects in Public Good Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-231, December.
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