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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt5fh525g8
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  1. 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.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Charness, Gary B & Grosskopf, Brit, 2000. "Relative Payoffs And Happiness: An Experimental Study," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8389x8z2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  6. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  7. Gary Charness & Ernan Haruvy, 1999. "Altruism, equity and reciprocity in a gift-exchange experiment: An encompassing approach," Economics Working Papers 368, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2000. "Fairness, incentives, and contractual choices," Munich Reprints in Economics 20659, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 1999. "Social preferences: Some simple tests and a new model," Economics Working Papers 441, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2000.
  10. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  11. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  15. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Fehr, Ernst & Gachter, Simon, 1998. "Reciprocity and economics: The economic implications of Homo Reciprocans1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 845-859, May.
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