Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Does willful ignorance deflect punishment? – An experimental study

Contents:

Author Info

  • Björn Bartling
  • Florian Engl
  • Roberto A. Weber

Abstract

This paper studies whether people can avoid punishment by remaining willfully ignorant about possible negative consequences of their actions for others. We employ a laboratory experiment, using modified dictator games in which a dictator can remain willfully ignorant about the payoff consequences of his decision for a receiver. A third party can punish the dictator after observing the dictator’s decision and the resulting payoffs. On the one hand, willfully ignorant dictators are punished less if their actions lead to unfair outcomes than dictators who reveal the consequences before implementing the same outcome. On the other hand, willfully ignorant dictators are punished more than revealing dictators if their actions do not lead to unfair outcomes. We conclude that willful ignorance can circumvent blame when unfair outcomes result, but that the act of remaining willfully ignorant is itself punished, regardless of the outcome.

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.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp125.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 125.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:125

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Blümlisalpstrasse 10, CH-8006 Zürich
Phone: +41-1-634 22 05
Fax: +41-1-634 49 07
Email:
Web page: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Willful ignorance; third party punishment; dictator game; fairness;

Other versions of this item:

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. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, . "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," IEW - Working Papers 129, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Sebald, Alexander, 2010. "Attribution and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 339-352, January.
  3. Axel Ockenfels & Peter Werner, 2011. "'Hiding behind a small cake' in a newspaper dictator game," Working Paper Series in Economics 51, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  4. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
  5. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2011. "Strategic Ignorance in Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 6087, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Trautmann, Stefan T., 2009. "A tractable model of process fairness under risk," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 803-813, October.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  8. Edward P. Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto A. Weber, 2012. "Sorting in Experiments with Application to Social Preferences," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 136-63, January.
  9. Fudenberg, Drew & Lavine, David K., 2012. "Fairness, Risk Preferences and Independence: Impossibility Theorems," Scholarly Articles 11022184, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 2012. "Fairness, risk preferences and independence: Impossibility theorems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 606-612.
  12. Michal Krawczyk, 2011. "A model of procedural and distributive fairness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(1), pages 111-128, January.
  13. Zephyr, 2010. "The city," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1-2), pages 154-155, February.
  14. 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.
  15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  16. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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:zur:econwp:125. 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: (Marita Kieser).

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.