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The impact of social comparison of ability on pro-social behaviour

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  • Riyanto, Yohanes E.
  • Zhang, Jianlin

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the impact of social comparison of ability on pro-social behaviour. Randomly-selected participants were required to perform a task to earn money. Subsequently, they had to decide how much of the money to transfer to a recipient. In our baseline treatment, allocators were not informed of their relative performance (ability) ranking on the task. In another treatment, allocators were provided with such information. We found that the amount of giving to unknown recipients decreased significantly when allocators were socially aware of their relative ability. This result is robust to a variation in the format of the allocation game employed in the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Riyanto, Yohanes E. & Zhang, Jianlin, 2013. "The impact of social comparison of ability on pro-social behaviour," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 37-46.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:47:y:2013:i:c:p:37-46 DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2013.08.001
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9512-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pablo Hernandez & Dylan Minor & Dana Sisak, 2015. "Do People Who Care About Others Cooperate More? Experimental Evidence from Relative Incentive Pay," Harvard Business School Working Papers 16-040, Harvard Business School.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social comparison; Relative ability; Pro-social behaviour; Real-effort allocation games;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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