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Paying for sanctions in social dilemmas: The effects of endowment asymmetry and accountability

  • De Cremer, David
  • Dijk, Eric van
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    The present research examines whether or not endowment asymmetry leads those with many endowments to contribute more than those with few endowments towards the public good (i.e., a first-order dilemma), but also towards the implementation of a sanctioning system (i.e., a second-order dilemma). In Experiment 1, we found that those with many endowments contributed more than those with few endowments in a public good dilemma without a sanctioning system present, whereas those with many endowments did not contribute more than those with few endowments toward the implementation of a sanctioning system. The latter effect, however, was eliminated when participants were accountable (i.e., when expectations that they would have to justify their decisions to others in the group were high). Experiment 2 showed that when participants were accountable, the contributions of those with many endowments (and not those with few endowments) toward the sanctioning system increased, but only when they perceived the group to be more self-evaluative in terms of morality (i.e., high-evaluation expectancy). Experiment 3 showed that this effect of evaluation expectancy only emerged when participants were accountable to the whole group rather than to only one group member.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 109 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (May)
    Pages: 45-55

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:109:y:2009:i:1:p:45-55
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    1. van Dijk, Eric & Grodzka, Malgorzata, 1992. "The influence of endowments asymmetry and information level on the contribution to a public step good," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 329-342, June.
    2. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F23-34, February.
    3. George Loewenstein & Don A. Moore, 2004. "When Ignorance Is Bliss: Information Exchange and Inefficiency in Bargaining," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 37-58, 01.
    4. McCusker, Christopher & Carnevale, Peter J., 1995. "Framing in Resource Dilemmas: Loss Aversion and the Moderating Effects of Sanctions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 190-201, February.
    5. Wade-Benzoni, Kimberly A. & Tenbrunsel, Ann E. & Bazerman, Max H., 1996. "Egocentric Interpretations of Fairness in Asymmetric, Environmental Social Dilemmas: Explaining Harvesting Behavior and the Role of Communication," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 111-126, August.
    6. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. M.A. Nowak & K. Sigmund, 1998. "Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity by Image Scoring/ The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," Working Papers ir98040, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    8. Daniel Nettle & Gilbert Roberts & Melissa Bateson, 2006. "Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting," Natural Field Experiments 00214, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
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