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Curating social image: Experimental evidence on the value of actions and selfies

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  • Holm, Hakan J.
  • Samahita, Margaret

Abstract

We manipulate the information subjects can share on the web concerning socially sensitive actions (public good contribution) and visibility (selfie) to determine the effect on social image, as captured by the price subjects demand for publication. Our novel design incorporates aspects of social media interaction including limited anonymity and the possibility to manipulate published information in retrospect, which involves a controled decision-making process. The overall conclusion from the experiment is that theory about social reputation can predict subjects’ social-signaling behavior. People take costly decisions to curate their social image online. We also report results of a more exploratory nature and find that taking a selfie has a strong negative impact on cooperation among frequent selfie takers, but not on other subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • Holm, Hakan J. & Samahita, Margaret, 2018. "Curating social image: Experimental evidence on the value of actions and selfies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 83-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:83-104
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.008
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    Keywords

    Social image; Selfie; Cooperation; Signaling; Social media; Dual process theory;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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