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Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game

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  • Dirk Engelmann
  • Urs Fischbacher

Abstract

We study indirect reciprocity and strategic reputation building in an experimental helping game. At any time only half of the subjects can build a reputation. This allows us to study both pure indirect reciprocity that is not contaminated by strategic reputation building and the impact of incentives for strategic reputation building on the helping rate. We find that while pure indirect reciprocity appears to be important, the helping choice seems to be influenced at least as much by strategic considerations. Strategic do better than non-strategic players and non-reciprocal do better than reciprocal players, casting doubt on previously proposed evolutionary explanations for indirect reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Engelmann & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp215, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp215
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    indirect reciprocity; reputation; experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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