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Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding?

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  • Robin Cubitt
  • Michalis Drouvelis
  • Simon Gachter
  • Ruslan Kabalin

Abstract

In the last thirty years economists and other social scientists investigated people's normative views on principles of distributive justice. Here we study people's normative views in social dilemmas, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance. Using insights from moral philosophy and psychology we provide an analysis of the morality of free riding. We use experimental survey methods to investigate people's moral judgments empirically. We vary others' contributions, the framing ("give-some" vs. "take-some") and whether contributions are simultaneous or sequential. We find that moral judgments depend strongly on others' behaviour; and that failing to give is condemned more strongly than withdrawing all support.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 09/20.

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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:09/20

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Keywords: moral judgments; framing effects; public goods experiments; free riding;

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Cited by:
  1. Tan, Fangfang & Xiao, Erte, 2011. "Peer punishment with third-party approval in a social dilemma game," MPRA Paper 35473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Hauge, Karen Evelyn & Brekke, Kjell Arne & Johansson, Lars-Olof & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Svedsäter, Henrik, 2014. "Keeping others in our mind or in our heart? Distribution games under cognitive load," Working Papers in Economics 600, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2011. "Animal Welfare and Social Decisions," Working Papers in Economics 485, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  4. Abeler, Johannes & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2013. "Self-Selection into Economics Experiments Is Driven by Monetary Rewards," IZA Discussion Papers 7374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Michalis Drouvelis & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Are happier people less judgmental of other people's selfish behaviors? Laboratory evidence from trust and gift exchange games," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Fangfang Tan & Erte Xiao, 2014. "Third-Party Punishment: Retribution or Deterrence?," Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance tax-mpg-rps-2014-05, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  7. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Reinhard Selten & Daniel Wiesen, 2009. "How Payment Systems Affect Physicians´ Provision Behaviour – An Experimental Investigation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers, University of Bonn, Germany bgse29_2009, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. 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.
  9. Alessandro Lanteri, 2010. "A note on the Trolley Problem and Three Weaknesses of Economic Theory," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(1), pages 500-507.
  10. Robin P. Cubitt & Michalis Drouvelis & Simon Gächter, 2008. "Framing and Free Riding: Emotional Responses and Punishment in Social Dilemma Games," Discussion Papers, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham 2008-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Simon Gächter, 2014. "Human Pro-Social Motivation and the Maintenance of Social Order," Discussion Papers 2014-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  12. Godager, Geir & Wiesen, Daniel, 2013. "Profit or patients’ health benefit? Exploring the heterogeneity in physician altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1105-1116.

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