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Measuring indirect reciprocity: Whose back do we scratch?

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  • Stanca, Luca

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental investigation of strong indirect reciprocity. We examine both generalized indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then B helps C) and social indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then C helps A) in a setting where reciprocal behavior cannot be explained by strategic motivations, using a treatment for direct reciprocity as a benchmark. We use a variant of the strategy method to control for differences in first movers' actions across treatments. We find evidence of strong reciprocity within each treatment, for both strategies and decisions. Generalized indirect reciprocity is found to be significantly stronger than social indirect reciprocity and, interestingly, than direct reciprocity. This finding is interpreted as reflecting the relevance of first movers' motivation for second movers' reciprocal behavior.

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  • Stanca, Luca, 2009. "Measuring indirect reciprocity: Whose back do we scratch?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 190-202, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:2:p:190-202
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    1. repec:spr:grdene:v:23:y:2014:i:3:d:10.1007_s10726-013-9341-y is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fischer, Sven & Güth, Werner, 2012. "Effects of exclusion on acceptance in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1100-1114.
    3. Becchetti, Leonardo & Castriota, Stefano & Conzo, Pierluigi, 2017. "Disaster, Aid, and Preferences: The Long-run Impact of the Tsunami on Giving in Sri Lanka," World Development, Elsevier, pages 157-173.
    4. Sven Fischer & Werner Güth, 2011. "Effects of exclusion on social preferences," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-053, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    5. David Hugh-Jones & Martin A. Leroch, "undated". "Intergroup revenge: a laboratory experiment on the causes," Working Papers 1510, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    6. repec:spr:homoec:v:34:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s41412-017-0049-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:kap:jbuset:v:146:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-017-3652-x is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Sarah Jacobson & Ragan Petrie, 2014. "Favor trading in public good provision," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(3), pages 439-460, September.
    9. Herne, Kaisa & Lappalainen, Olli & Kestilä-Kekkonen, Elina, 2013. "Experimental comparison of direct, general, and indirect reciprocity," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 38-46.
    10. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:9:d:10.1007_s11573-017-0851-y is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Mohajan, Haradhan, 2017. "Analysis of Reciprocity and Substitution Theorems, and Slutsky Equation," MPRA Paper 82938, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Feb 2017.
    12. Liang, Pinghan & Meng, Juanjuan, 2013. "Love me, love my dog: an experimental study on social connections and indirect reciprocity," MPRA Paper 45270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Liang, Pinghan & Meng, Juanjuan, 2016. "Favor transmission and social image concern: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 14-21.
    14. Masiliūnas, Aidas, 2017. "Overcoming coordination failure in a critical mass game: Strategic motives and action disclosure," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 214-251.
    15. Luca Stanca & Luigino Bruni & Marco Mantovani, 2011. "The effect of motivations on social indirect reciprocity: an experimental analysis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 1709-1711.
    16. Luca Stanca, 2011. "Social science and neuroscience: how can they inform each other?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 58(3), pages 243-256, September.
    17. Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2014. "Strategic Trustworthiness via Unstrategic Third-party Reward – An Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2014_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reciprocity Cooperation Microeconomic behavior Experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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