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Norms and Guilt

Author

Listed:
  • Anastasia Danilov
  • Kiryl Khalmetski
  • Dirk Sliwka

Abstract

It has been argued that guilt aversion (the aversion to violate others’ expectations) and the compliance to descriptive social norms (the aversion to act differently than others in the same situation) are important drivers of human behavior. We show in a formal model that both motives are empirically indistinguishable when only one benchmark (another person’s expectation or a norm) is revealed as each of these benchmarks signals information on the other one. To address this problem, we experimentally study how individuals react when both benchmarks are revealed simultaneously. We find that both types of information affect transfers in the dictator game. At the same time, the effect of the recipient’s expectation is non-monotonic as dictators use the disclosed expectation in a self-serving way to decrease transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Anastasia Danilov & Kiryl Khalmetski & Dirk Sliwka, 2018. "Norms and Guilt," CESifo Working Paper Series 6999, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6999
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Loukas Balafoutas & Helena Fornwagner, 2017. "The limits of guilt," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 137-148, December.
    7. Khalmetski, Kiryl & Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2015. "Surprising gifts: Theory and laboratory evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PA), pages 163-208.
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    11. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    12. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vittorio Pelligra & Tommaso Reggiani & Daniel John Zizzo, 2020. "Responding to (un)reasonable requests by an authority," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 89(3), pages 287-311, October.
    2. D'Adda, Giovanna & Dufwenberg, Martin & Passarelli, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 2019. "Partial Norms," CEPR Discussion Papers 13593, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
      • Giovanna d’Adda & Martin Dufwenberg & Francesco Passarelli & Guido Tabellini, 2019. "Partial Norms," Working Papers 643, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
      • Giovanna D'Adda & Martin Dufwenberg & Francesco Passarelli & Guido Tabellini, 2019. "Partial Norms," CESifo Working Paper Series 7568, CESifo.
    3. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Manzoni, Elena & Nagel, Rosemarie, 2019. "Belief-dependent preferences and reputation: Experimental analysis of a repeated trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 341-360.
    4. Cristina Bicchieri & Eugen Dimant, 2018. "It's Not A Lie If You Believe It. Lying and Belief Distortion Under Norm-Uncertainty," PPE Working Papers 0012, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2020. "Belief-Dependent Motivations and Psychological Game Theory," CESifo Working Paper Series 8285, CESifo.
    6. Giuseppe Attanasi & Claire Rimbaud & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2020. "Guilt Aversion in (New) Games: the Role of Vulnerability," GREDEG Working Papers 2020-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    guilt aversion; social norms; conformity; dictator game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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