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Your Morals Are Your Moods

  • Kirchsteiger, Georg
  • Rigotti, Luca
  • Rustichini, Aldo

We test the effect of players' moods on their behavior in a gift-exchange game. In the first stage of the game, player 1 chooses a transfer to player 2. In the second stage, player 2 chooses an effort level. Higher effort is more costly for player 2, but it increases player 1's payoff. We say that player 2 reciprocates if effort is increasing in the transfer received. Player 2 is generous if an effort is incurred even when no transfer is received. Subjects play this game in two different moods. To induce a 'bad mood', subjects in the role of player 2 watched a sad movie before playing the game; to induce a `good mood', they watched a funny movie. Mood induction was effective: subjects who saw the funny movie reported a significantly better mood than those who saw the sad movie. These two moods lead to significant differences in player 2's behavior. We find that a bad mood implies more reciprocity while a good mood implies more generosity. Since high transfers are relatively more common, player 1 makes more money when second movers are in a bad mood.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt5fh525g8.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt5fh525g8
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  1. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Alice M. Isen, 2000. "The Effect of Affect on Economic and Strategic Decision Making," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1136, Econometric Society.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  5. Charness, Gary B & Haruvy, Ernan, 1999. "Altruism, Equity, And Reciprocity In A Gift-Exchange Experiment: An Encompassing Approach," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt01n8x8m3, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  11. repec:dgr:kubcen:1998129 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedl, Arno, 1998. "Gift exchange and reciprocity in competitive experimental markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-34, January.
  13. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
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  15. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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