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Reaching for the Stars: An Experimental Study of the Consumption Value of Social Approval

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Author Info

  • Matthias Greiff

    ()
    (University of Giessen)

  • Fabian Paetzel

    ()
    (University of Bremen)

Abstract

We present a theoretical model of a linear public good game in which heterogeneous players express social approval after observing contributions. The model explains how social approval is expressed and predicts positive contributions if subjects have a preference for social approval. Using a controlled laboratory experiment we test our model. In the experiment, subjects conduct computerized tasks that require substantial effort resulting in endowments from which contributions can be made to a linear public good. After observing others’ contributions subjects express social approval. Our main hypothesis is that subjects have a preference for social approval so that the expression of social approval will increase contributions, even if reputation building is impossible. We vary the information available to subjects and investigate how this affects the expression of social approval and individual contributions. Our main finding is that the expression of social approval significantly increases contributions. However, the increase in contributions is smaller if additional information is provided, suggesting that social approval is more effective if subjects receive a noisy signal about others’ contributions.

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File URL: https://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/magkspapers/08-2012_greiff.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201208.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201208

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Related research

Keywords: Experimental Economics; Linear Public Good Games; Non-monetary Incentives; Social Approval;

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References

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  1. Masclet, D. & Noussair, C. & Tucker, S. & Villeval, M.C., 2001. "Monetary and Non-monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1141, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  2. Ben Greiner, 2004. "The Online Recruitment System ORSEE 2.0 - A Guide for the Organization of Experiments in Economics," Working Paper Series in Economics 10, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  3. Jeremy Clark, 2002. "House Money Effects in Public Good Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-231, December.
  4. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
  7. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
  8. 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.
  9. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
  10. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, EconWPA, revised 18 May 2005.
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  12. Rutstrom, E. Elisabet & Williams, Melonie B., 2000. "Entitlements and fairness:: an experimental study of distributive preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 75-89, September.
  13. Kosfeld, Michael & Neckermann, Susanne, 2010. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 5040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Matthias Greiff, 2013. "Affective Social Ties without the Need to Belong?," Rationality, Markets and Morals, Frankfurt School Verlag, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, vol. 4(64), May.
  2. Schmitt, Carina & Obinger, Herbert, 2012. "Policy diffusion and social rights in advanced democracies 1960-2000," Working papers of the ZeS 02/2012, University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS).
  3. Matthias Greiff & Fabian Paetzel, 2012. "The Importance of Knowing Your Own Reputation," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201236, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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