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Self-serving biases in social norm compliance

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  • Kassas, Bachir
  • Palma, Marco A.

Abstract

The social stigma against the payoff-maximizing strategy in dictator games is being accepted by more researchers as the most accurate rationalization for the divergence between classical economic theory and laboratory behavior in this setting. By constructing a fake entitlement treatment, where dictator role assignment was purely random, but masqueraded in a way that was open for interpretation, we investigate whether social norm compliance is an inclination or obligation in dictator experiments. We provide compelling evidence that dictators are not predisposed to seek adherence with prevailing social norms, but instead, interpreted the setting to serve their own self-interest.

Suggested Citation

  • Kassas, Bachir & Palma, Marco A., 2019. "Self-serving biases in social norm compliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 388-408.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:159:y:2019:i:c:p:388-408
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.010
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    2. Thomas Neuber, 2021. "Egocentric Norm Adoption," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 116, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    3. Merguei, Nitzan & Strobel, Martin & Vostroknutov, Alexander, 2022. "Moral opportunism as a consequence of decision making under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 197(C), pages 624-642.
    4. Fries, Tilman & Parra, Daniel, 2020. "Because I (don't) deserve it: Entitlement and lying behavior," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Ethics and Behavioral Economics SP II 2020-401, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    5. Fries, Tilman & Parra, Daniel, 2021. "Because I (don’t) deserve it: Entitlement and lying behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 495-512.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dictator giving; Double hurdle model; Fake entitlement; Social norms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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