Facing a dilemma: cooperative behavior and beauty
AbstractThis paper investigates the influence of physical attractiveness on cooperative be- havior. We survey data from 211 episodes of a television game show and combine it with independent facial attractiveness ratings of the show's contestants. The final of the show represents a simultaneous one-shot modified prisoner's dilemma. Our results show that facially attractive contestants provoke cooperative behavior from their counterparts, but attractive contestants themselves do not behave differently from unattractive ones. This preferential treatment or "beauty premium" rewards attractive contestants with substantially higher monetary gains of up to £2 153. This finding applies to both sexes. But, the attractiveness effect is limited to mixed-gender interactions. Contestants are only more cooperative when facing an attractive fellow player of the opposite sex. Attractiveness also has no effect in group-decisions made by the contestants prior to the prisoner's dilemma. Therefore people seem to show a preference to cooperate with someone towards whom they are personally attracted; and this preference reaches full effect when people lack other information on which to base their decision.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 082.
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision: Dec 2012
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Beauty premium; cooperation; prisoner's dilemma;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2012-06-25 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2012-06-25 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2012-06-25 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2012-06-25 (Game Theory)
- NEP-NEU-2012-06-25 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2012-06-25 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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