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The effects of induced emotions on pro-social behaviour


  • Drouvelis, Michalis
  • Grosskopf, Brit


Emotions are commonly experienced and expressed in human societies; however, their consequences on economic behaviour have received only limited attention. This paper investigates the effects of induced positive and negative emotions on cooperation and sanctioning behaviour in a one-shot voluntary contributions mechanism game, where personal and social interests are at odds. We concentrate on two specific emotions: anger and happiness. Our findings provide clear evidence that measures of social preferences are sensitive to subjects' current emotional states. Specifically, angry subjects contribute, on average, less than happy subjects and overall welfare as measured by average net earnings is lower when subjects are in an angry mood. We also find that how punishment is used is affected by moods: angry subjects punish harsher than happy subjects, ceteris paribus. These findings suggest that anger, when induced, can have a negative impact on economic behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Drouvelis, Michalis & Grosskopf, Brit, 2016. "The effects of induced emotions on pro-social behaviour," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 1-8.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:134:y:2016:i:c:p:1-8 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.12.012

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christian Kellner & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2017. "Conditional generosity and uncertain income: Evidence from five experiments," Discussion Papers 1707, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    2. Laura K. Gee & Xinxin Lyu & Heather Urry, 2017. "Anger Management: Aggression and Punishment in the Provision of Public Goods," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, January.
    3. repec:eee:soceco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:435-448 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Merkel, Anna & Lohse, Johannes, 2016. "Is fairness intuitive? An experiment accounting for the role of subjective utility differences under time pressure," Working Papers 0627, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Induced emotions; Anger; Happiness; Contribution; Punishment; Public goods experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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