IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/expeco/v20y2017i2d10.1007_s10683-016-9485-0.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social approval, competition and cooperation

Author

Listed:
  • Xiaofei Pan

    () (University of the South)

  • Daniel Houser

    (George Mason University)

Abstract

Non-monetary rewards are frequently used to promote pro-social behaviors, and these behaviors often result in approval from one’s peers. Nevertheless, we know little about how peer-approval, and particularly competition for peer-approval, influences people’s decisions to cooperate. This paper provides experimental evidence suggesting that people in peer-approval competitions value social approval more when it leads to unique and durable rewards. Our evidence suggests that such rewards act as a signaling mechanism, thereby contributing to the value of approval. We show that this signaling mechanism generates cooperation at least as effectively as cash rewards. Our findings point to the potential value of developing new mechanisms that rely on small non-monetary rewards to promote generosity in groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Xiaofei Pan & Daniel Houser, 2017. "Social approval, competition and cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 309-332, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9485-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-016-9485-0
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10683-016-9485-0
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
    2. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2010. "Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive : Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 1016, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Jian Li & Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser & P. Read Montague, 2009. "Neural Responses to Sanction Threats in Two-Party Economic Exchange," Working Papers 1012, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    4. James Andreoni, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21.
    5. Eriksson, Tor & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Respect and relational contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 286-298.
    6. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    7. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
    8. Neckermann, Susanne & Cueni, Reto & Frey, Bruno S., 2014. "Awards at work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 205-217.
    9. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 112-145, March.
    10. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    11. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2011. "Conspicuous generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1131-1143, October.
    12. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
    13. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    14. Andreas Fuster & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Another Hidden Cost of Incentives: The Detrimental Effect on Norm Enforcement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(1), pages 57-70, January.
    15. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    16. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
    17. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-817, August.
    18. James Andreoni & William Harbaugh & Lise Vesterlund, 2003. "The Carrot or the Stick: Rewards, Punishments, and Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 893-902, June.
    19. Laurent Denant-Boemont & David Masclet & Charles Noussair, 2007. "Punishment, counterpunishment and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 145-167, October.
    20. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-282, May.
    21. Martin Sefton & Robert Shupp & James M. Walker, 2007. "The Effect Of Rewards And Sanctions In Provision Of Public Goods," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(4), pages 671-690, October.
    22. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    23. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann, 2011. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 86-99, August.
    24. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1607-1636, September.
    25. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    26. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Do all material incentives for pro-social activities backfire? The response to cash and non-cash incentives for blood donations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 738-748, August.
    27. Yan Chen & F. Maxwell Harper & Joseph Konstan & Sherry Xin Li, 2010. "Social Comparisons and Contributions to Online Communities: A Field Experiment on MovieLens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1358-1398, September.
    28. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
    29. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
    30. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    31. Subhasish Dugar, 2013. "Non-Monetary Incentives And Opportunistic Behavior: Evidence From A Laboratory Public Good Game," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1374-1388, April.
    32. Hollander, Heinz, 1990. "A Social Exchange Approach to Voluntary Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1157-1167, December.
    33. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
    34. Xiaofei Sophia Pan & Daniel Houser, 2011. "Competition for Trophies Triggers Male Generosity," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 6(4), pages 1-6, April.
    35. Duffy, John & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2010. "Does competition affect giving?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 82-103, May.
    36. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-1028, September.
    37. Li, Lingfang (Ivy) & Xiao, Erte, 2010. "Money Talks? An Experimental Study of Rebate in Reputation System Design," MPRA Paper 22401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    38. Stoop, Jan & van Soest, Daan & Vyrastekova, Jana, 2011. "Carrots without Bite: On the Ineffectiveness of 'Rewards' in sustaining Cooperation in Social Dilemmas," MPRA Paper 30538, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    39. Fudenberg, Drew & Dreber, Anna & Rand, David G. & Nowak, Martin, 2008. "Winners Don't Punish," Scholarly Articles 2252594, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    40. Michael Visser & Matthew Roelofs, 2011. "Heterogeneous preferences for altruism: gender and personality, social status, giving and taking," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 490-506, November.
    41. Rand, David Gertler & Dreber, Anna & Fudenberg, Drew & Ellingson, Tore & Nowak, Martin A., 2009. "Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation," Scholarly Articles 3804483, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    42. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2005. "Combining Monetary and Social Sanctions to Promote Cooperation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 649-660, July.
    43. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 May 2005.
    44. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Greiff, Matthias & Paetzel, Fabian, 2020. "Information about average evaluations spurs cooperation: An experiment on noisy reputation systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 334-356.
    2. Salmon, Timothy C. & Serra, Danila, 2017. "Corruption, social judgment and culture: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 64-78.
    3. Chao, Hong & Ho, Chun-Yu & Huang, Shaoqing & Qin, Xiangdong & Cong, Jiajia, 2019. "Partners or rivals? An experimental study of a two-stage tournament," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 288-310.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Anya Savikhin Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2014. "Recognizing contributors: an experiment on public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 673-690, December.
    2. Anya Savikhin & Roman Sheremeta, 2010. "Visibility of Contributions and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Working Papers 10-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    3. Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2013. "Recognizing Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Artefactual Field Experiments 00430, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. Krieg, Justin & Samek, Anya, 2017. "When charities compete: A laboratory experiment with simultaneous public goods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 40-57.
    5. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann, 2008. "Reciprocity, culture, and human cooperation: Previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment," Discussion Papers 2008-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    6. Dickinson, David L. & Masclet, David & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2015. "Norm enforcement in social dilemmas: An experiment with police commissioners," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 74-85.
    7. Bracha, Anat & Vesterlund, Lise, 2017. "Mixed signals: Charity reporting when donations signal generosity and income," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 24-42.
    8. Daniel Jones & Sera Linardi, 2014. "Wallflowers: Experimental Evidence of an Aversion to Standing Out," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(7), pages 1757-1771, July.
    9. Zafar, Basit, 2011. "An experimental investigation of why individuals conform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 774-798, August.
    10. 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.
    11. Nikos Nikiforakis & Hans-Theo Normann & Brian Wallace, 2010. "Asymmetric Enforcement of Cooperation in a Social Dilemma," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 638-659, January.
    12. Nikos Nikiforakis & Helen Mitchell, 2014. "Mixing the carrots with the sticks: third party punishment and reward," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, March.
    13. Andreas Leibbrandt & Raúl López-Pérez, 2014. "Different carrots and different sticks: do we reward and punish differently than we approve and disapprove?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(1), pages 95-118, January.
    14. Robert Böhm & Tobias Regner, 2013. "Charitable giving among females and males: an empirical test of the competitive altruism hypothesis," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 251-267, October.
    15. Lumeau, Marianne & Masclet, David & Penard, Thierry, 2015. "Reputation and social (dis)approval in feedback mechanisms: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 127-140.
    16. Erte Xiao & Howard Kunreuther, 2016. "Punishment and Cooperation in Stochastic Social Dilemmas," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 60(4), pages 670-693, June.
    17. Emel Filiz-Ozbay & Erkut Ozbay, 2014. "Effect of an audience in public goods provision," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 200-214, June.
    18. Bicskei, Marianna & Lankau, Matthias & Bizer, Kilian, 2014. "Social environment and forms of governance: Monetary and non-monetary punishment and the role of emotions," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 202, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    19. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    20. Yann Algan & Yochai Benkler & Mayo Fuster Morell & Jerome Hergueux, 2013. "Cooperation in Peer-Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5ulf84sluc9, Sciences Po.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer approval; Competition; Cooperation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9485-0. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.