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The role of responsibility in strategic risk-taking

  • Charness, Gary
  • Jackson, Matthew O.

We explore play between groups where one member of each 2-person group dictates the play of that group and is therefore responsible for the payoff of the other group member. We compare this to play when the game is the same, but each person is playing only for herself. Consistent with the principle of responsibility-alleviation described by Charness [Charness, G., 2000. Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 42, 375-384], we find that a sense of responsibility for the welfare of others has an effect. While the issue of responsibility does not appear to influence the decisions of 2/3 of the population, almost 90 percent of the remaining 1/3 of the population plays a less risky strategy when choosing for a group than when playing only for herself.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 241-247

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:69:y:2009:i:3:p:241-247
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  1. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 375-384, July.
  2. Gary Charness & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "Group Play in Games and the Role of Consent in Network Formation," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000213, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. W. Kip Viscusi & Wesley A. Magat & Joel Huber, 1987. "An Investigation of the Rationality of Consumer Valuations of Multiple Health Risks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(4), pages 465-479, Winter.
  4. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
  5. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  6. Morgenstern, Albrecht, 2004. "Efficiency concerns and incentive provision--an experimental study," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 335-341, June.
  7. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  8. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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