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Contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among peers and the role of social proximity

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  • Dimant, Eugen

Abstract

This paper uses a novel experimental design to study the contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior and the role of social proximity among peers. Across systematic variations thereof, we find that anti-social behavior is generally more contagious than pro-social behavior. Surprisingly, we also find that social proximity amplifies the contagion of anti-social behavior more strongly than the contagion of pro-social behavior. Anti-social individuals are also most susceptible to the behavioral contagion of other anti-social peers. These findings paired with the methodological contribution inform the design of effective norm-based policy interventions directed at facilitating pro-social behavior and reducing anti-social behavior in social and economic environments.

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  • Dimant, Eugen, 2019. "Contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior among peers and the role of social proximity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 66-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:73:y:2019:i:c:p:66-88
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2019.04.009
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    Cited by:

    1. Gary Bolton & Eugen Dimant & Ulrich Schmidt, 2018. "When a Nudge Backfires. Using Observation with Social and Economic Incentives to Promote Pro-Social Behavior," PPE Working Papers 0017, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Johannes Buckenmaier & Eugen Dimant & Ann-Christin Posten & Ulrich Schmidt, 2020. "Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Formal Sanctions," CESifo Working Paper Series 8113, CESifo.
    3. Dimant, Eugen & van Kleef, Gerben A. & Shalvi, Shaul, 2020. "Requiem for a Nudge: Framing effects in nudging honesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 247-266.
    4. Diekert, Florian & Eymess, Tillmann & Luomba, Joseph & Waichman, Israel, 2020. "The Creation of Social Norms under Weak Institutions," Working Papers 0684, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    5. Gerhards, Leonie & Gravert, Christina, 2020. "Because of you I did not give up – Peer effects in perseverance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    6. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant & Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo, 2020. "Observability, Social Proximity, and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," CESifo Working Paper Series 8212, CESifo.
    7. Charness, Gary & Naef, Michael & Sontuoso, Alessandro, 2019. "Opportunistic conformism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 100-134.
    8. Eugen Dimant, 2020. "Hate Trumps Love: The Impact of Political Polarization on Social Preferences," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 029, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    9. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant, 2018. "It's Not A Lie If You Believe It. Lying and Belief Distortion Under Norm-Uncertainty," PPE Working Papers 0012, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. Le Maux, Benoît & Necker, Sarah & Rocaboy, Yvon, 2019. "Cheat or perish? A theory of scientific customs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(9), pages 1-1.
    11. Bicchieri, Cristina & Dimant, Eugen & Gächter, Simon & Nosenzo, Daniele, 2020. "Social Proximity and the Erosion of Norm Compliance," IZA Discussion Papers 13864, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Elisa Hofmann, 2020. "The power of close relationships and audiences: Interpersonal closeness and payment observability as determinants of voluntary payments," Jena Economic Research Papers 2020-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    13. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant, 2019. "Nudging with Care: The Risks and Benefits of Social Information," Discussion Papers 2019-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    14. Jan S. Krause & Gerrit Nanninga & Patrick Ring & Ulrich Schmidt & Daniel Schunk, 2020. "The Influence of Ambient Temperature on Social Perception and Social Behavior," Working Papers 2013, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    15. Benistant, Julien & Galeotti, Fabio & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2021. "The Distinct Impact of Information and Incentives on Cheating," IZA Discussion Papers 14014, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Florian H. Schneider, 2020. "Signaling moral values through consumption," ECON - Working Papers 367, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    17. Götte, Lorenz & Tripodi, Egon, 2018. "Social Influence in Prosocial Behavior:Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 13078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Mitra, Arnab & Shahriar, Quazi, 2020. "Why is dishonesty difficult to mitigate? The interaction between descriptive norm and monetary incentive," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    19. Eugen Dimant & Kyle Hyndman, 2019. "Becoming Friends or Foes? How Competitive Environments Shape Social Preferences," Discussion Papers 2019-18, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    20. Gary E. Bolton & Eugen Dimant & Ulrich Schmidt, 2020. "When a Nudge Backfires: Combining (Im)Plausible Deniability with Social and Economic Incentives to Promote Behavioral Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 8070, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Behavioral contagion; Peer effects; Anti-social & pro-social behavior;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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