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Measuring image concern

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  • Henry, Emeric
  • Sonntag, Jan

Abstract

It is now well documented that individuals tend to change their behavior when their actions are observed by others. Yet there is no systematic way of measuring this dimension of preferences at the individual level. In this paper, we propose and validate a novel experimental game to measure individual sensitivity to social image. We document substantial heterogeneity in the level of image concern. We show that image concerned individuals tend to be less cooperative in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma, especially when their actions cannot be observed by others. Finally, we present evidence suggesting that the level of image concern is uncorrelated with observer characteristics, with one exception: members of ethnic minorities appear less sensitive to being observed by another member of a minority group.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry, Emeric & Sonntag, Jan, 2019. "Measuring image concern," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 19-39.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:160:y:2019:i:c:p:19-39
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.018
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    Cited by:

    1. Emeric Henry & Charles Louis-Sidois, 2018. "Voting and Contributing While the Group is Watching," Sciences Po publications 2018-11, Sciences Po.
    2. repec:eee:ecolet:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:73-75 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Henry, Emeric & Louis-Sidois, Charles, 2015. "Voting and contributing when the group is watching," CEPR Discussion Papers 10912, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Image concern; Experimental measurement; Repeated prisoner’s dilemma;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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