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Justification and cooperation

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Author Info

  • Xiao, Erte

Abstract

The need for justification is a widely observed social phenomenon. This paper develops a theoretical framework and reports laboratory evidence to show how pure justification pressure affects cooperative behavior in economic exchange environments. In a one-shot anonymous interaction, compared with the case when the behavior is simply observed by the audience, individuals are more likely to act on what they believe the audience thinks they should do when they also have to explain the decisions to the audience. When it is salient that the audience thinks one should cooperate, justification pressure significantly promotes cooperation even absent negative consequences for non-cooperative behavior. We discuss the implications of our findings for shaping institutional design to promote cooperation.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36120/
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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/36576/
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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/37084/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 36120.

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Date of creation: 10 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36120

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Related research

Keywords: justification; accountability; cooperation; social norms; experimental economics;

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References

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  1. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Trust, Risk and Betrayal," Working Paper Series rwp03-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Jordi Brandts & Orsola Garofalo, 2010. "Gender Pairings and Accountability Effect," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 034, University of Siena.
  3. Linardi, Sera & McConnell, Margaret A., 2011. "No excuses for good behavior: Volunteering and the social environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 445-454, June.
  4. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
  5. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Kahan, Dan M, 1998. "Social Meaning and the Economic Analysis of Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 609-22, June.
  7. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
  8. James Andreoni & Justin M. Rao, 2010. "The Power of Asking: How Communication Affects Selfishness, Empathy, and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 16373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  11. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  12. Jian Li & Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser & P. Read Montague, 2009. "Neural Responses to Sanction Threats in Two-Party Economic Exchange," Working Papers 1012, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Agnès Festré & Pierre Garrouste, 2012. "Somebody May Scold You! A Dictator Experiment," GREDEG Working Papers 2012-04, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
  2. Erte Xiao & Fangfang Tan, 2014. "Justification and Legitimate Punishment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 170(1), pages 168-188, March.
  3. Shaul Shalvi, 2012. "Dishonestly increasing the likelihood of winning," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(3), pages 292-303, May.

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