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Are happier people less judgmental of other people's selfish behaviors? Experimental survey evidence from trust and gift exchange games

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  • Drouvelis, Michalis
  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh

Abstract

What determines people's moral judgments of selfish behaviors? Here we study whether people's normative views in trust and gift exchange games, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance, are themselves functions of positive emotions. We use experimental survey methods to investigate the moral judgments of impartial observers empirically, and explore whether we could influence subsequent judgments by deliberately making some individuals happier. We find that moral judgments of selfish behaviors in the economic context depend strongly on the behavior of the interaction partner of the judged person, but their relationships are significantly moderated by an increase in happiness for the person making the judgment.

Suggested Citation

  • Drouvelis, Michalis & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2015. "Are happier people less judgmental of other people's selfish behaviors? Experimental survey evidence from trust and gift exchange games," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 111-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:58:y:2015:i:c:p:111-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2015.07.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Happiness; Moral judgments; Trust games; Gift exchange games;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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