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Ashamed to be Selfish

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  • Dillenberger, David
  • Sadowski, Philipp

Abstract

We study a two-stage choice problem, where alternatives are allocations between the decision maker (DM) and a passive recipient. The recipient observes choice behavior in stage two, while stage one choice is unobserved. Choosing selfishly in stage two, in the face of a fairer available alternative, may inflict shame on DM. DM has preferences over sets of alternatives that represent period two choices. We axiomatize a representation that identifies DM's selfish ranking, her norm of fairness and shame. Altruism is the most prominent motive that can explain non-selfish choice. We identify a condition under which shame to be selfish can mimic altruism, when only stage-two choice is observed by the experimenter. An additional condition implies that the norm of fairness can be characterized as the Nash solution of a bargaining game induced by the second-stage choice problem. The representation is generalized to allow for finitely many recipients and applied to explain a social decision maker's incentive for obfuscation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8343.

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Date of creation: 16 Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8343

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  1. Alexander K. Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2008. "Giving in Dictator Games: Regard for Others or Regard by Others?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 223-231, July.
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  4. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IDEI Working Papers 389, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jan 2006.
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  7. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  8. Dana, Jason & Cain, Daylian M. & Dawes, Robyn M., 2006. "What you don't know won't hurt me: Costly (but quiet) exit in dictator games," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 193-201, July.
  9. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  10. Frohlich, Norman & Oppenheimer, Joe & Bernard Moore, J., 2001. "Some doubts about measuring self-interest using dictator experiments: the costs of anonymity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 271-290, November.
  11. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  12. Johannesson, Magnus & Persson, Bjorn, 2000. "Non-reciprocal altruism in dictator games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 137-142, November.
  13. Mariotti, Marco, 1999. "Fair Bargains: Distributive Justice and Nash Bargaining Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 733-41, July.
  14. Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
  15. Burnham, Terence C., 2003. "Engineering altruism: a theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-144, January.
  16. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
  17. William Neilson, 2006. "Axiomatic reference-dependence in behavior toward others and toward risk," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 681-692, 08.
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Cited by:
  1. Vadim Cherepanov & Tim Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2013. "Revealed preferences and aspirations in warm glow theory," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 501-535, November.
  2. Özgür Evren & Stefania Minardi, 2011. "Warm-Glow Giving and Freedom to be Selfish," Working Papers w0171, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  3. Norio Takeoka, 2006. "Temptation, Certainty Effect, and Diminishing Self-Control," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000507, UCLA Department of Economics.

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