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Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game

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  • Dirk Engelmann
  • Urs Fischbacher

Abstract

We study indirect reciprocity and strategic reputation building in an experimental helping game. At any time only half of the subjects can build a reputation. This allows us to study both pure indirect reciprocity that is not contaminated by strategic reputation building and the impact of incentives for strategic reputation building on the helping rate. We find that while pure indirect reciprocity appears to be important, the helping choice seems to be influenced at least as much by strategic considerations. Strategic do better than non-strategic players and non-reciprocal do better than reciprocal players, casting doubt on previously proposed evolutionary explanations for indirect reciprocity.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 132.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:132

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Keywords: indirect reciprocity; experimental economics; reputation;

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  1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Seinen, Ingrid & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Social status and group norms: Indirect reciprocity in a repeated helping experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-602, April.
  4. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
  5. M.A. Nowak & K. Sigmund, 1998. "Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity by Image Scoring/ The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," Working Papers, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis ir98040, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
  6. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
  8. Claudia Keser, 2002. "Trust and Reputation Building in E-Commerce," CIRANO Working Papers, CIRANO 2002s-75, CIRANO.
  9. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, . "A Theory of Reciprocity," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  11. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
  12. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  13. Ingrid Seinen & Arthur Schram, 2001. "Social Status and Group Norms," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-003/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  14. Gary Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "How Effective are Online Reputation Mechanisms?," Papers on Strategic Interaction, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group 2002-25, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  15. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  16. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-82, May.
  17. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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