Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

At the Mercy of the Prisoner Next Door. Using an Experimental Measure of Selfishness as a Criminological Tool

Contents:

Author Info

  • Thorsten Chmura

    (University of Bonn)

  • Christoph Engel

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Markus Englerth

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Thomas Pitz

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

Abstract

Do criminals maximise money? Are criminals more or less selfish than the average subject? Can prisons apply measures that reduce the degree of selfishness of their inmates? Using a tried and tested tool from experimental economics, we cast new light on these old criminological questions. In a standard dictator game, prisoners give a substantial amount, which calls for more refined versions of utility in rational choice theories of crime. Prisoners do not give less than average subjects, not even than subjects from other closely knit communities. This speaks against the idea that people commit crimes because they are excessively selfish. Finally those who receive better marks at prison school give more, as do those who improve their marks over time. This suggests that this correctional intervention also reduces selfishness.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.coll.mpg.de/pdf_dat/2010_27online.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2010_27.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2010_27

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10 - D- 53113 Bonn
Phone: +49-(0)228 / 91416-0
Fax: +49-(0)228 / 91416-55
Email:
Web page: http://www.coll.mpg.de/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: experiment; Crime; Prison; Dictator Game; Hurdle Model;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  2. 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.
  3. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
  4. Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "What Do We Expect from Our Friends?," Microeconomics Working Papers 23053, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  5. James Andreoni, 1994. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," Experimental 9410002, EconWPA.
  6. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052, October.
  7. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  8. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  9. Håkan J. Holm & Anders Danielson, 2005. "Tropic Trust Versus Nordic Trust: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania And Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 505-532, 04.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  11. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  12. Houser, Daniel & Schunk, Daniel, 2009. "Social environments with competitive pressure: Gender effects in the decisions of German schoolchildren," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 634-641, August.
  13. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  14. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
  15. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination In A Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377, February.
  16. Michael Gurven, 2004. "Economic Games Among the Amazonian Tsimane: Exploring the Roles of Market Access, Costs of Giving, and Cooperation on Pro-Social Game Behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 5-24, February.
  17. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  18. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  19. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Rosemarie Nagel & Juan V. Sánchez-Andrés, 2009. "Prosocial Capabilities in Alzheimer's Patients," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 65(1), pages 119-128.
  20. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 585-608, June.
  21. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  22. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt3w34j60j, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  23. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  24. Clare Anderson & David L. Dickinson, 2009. "Bargaining and Trust: The Effects of 36hr Total Sleep Deprivation on Socially Interactive Decisions," Working Papers 09-01, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  25. Allen McDowell, 2003. "From the help desk: hurdle models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 178-184, June.
  26. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  27. Takezawa, Masanori & Gummerum, Michaela & Keller, Monika, 2006. "A stage for the rational tail of the emotional dog: Roles of moral reasoning in group decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 117-139, February.
  28. Gurven, Michael & Zanolini, Arianna & Schniter, Eric, 2008. "Culture sometimes matters: Intra-cultural variation in pro-social behavior among Tsimane Amerindians," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 587-607, September.
  29. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  30. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-44, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Khadjavi, Menusch & Lange, Andreas, 2013. "Prisoners and their dilemma," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 163-175.
  2. Annamaria Nese & Arturo Palomba & Patrizia Sbriglia & Maurizio Scudiero, 2013. "Third party punishment and criminal behavior: an experiment with the Italian Camorra prison inmates," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 1875-1884.
  3. Menusch Khadjavi, 2014. "Deterrence Works for Criminals," Kiel Working Papers 1938, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2010_27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marc Martin).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.