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If I close my eyes, nobody will get hurt. The effect of ignorance on performance in a real effort experiment

Author

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  • Agne Kajackaite

    (University of Cologne)

Abstract

This paper tests whether staying ignorant about the negative consequences of one's own actions affects agents' performance in a real effort experiment. We conducted treatments in which subjects' effort either increased only one's own payoff or also increased the donation to a bad charity. Ignorance was introduced by letting agents to decide whether or not to learn if the effort benefits the charity. Overall, we find that in the conditions with complete information agents exert significantly higher efforts if there are no benefits for the bad charity. With respect to ignorance, we show that (i) almost a third of agents stay ignorant, and (ii) the ignorant agents exert significantly more effort than agents who know that their effort benefits the bad charity. We also find evidence for a sorting of low social types into ignorance, as exogenously uninformed agents exert less effort than ignorant agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Agne Kajackaite, 2014. "If I close my eyes, nobody will get hurt. The effect of ignorance on performance in a real effort experiment," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 05-03, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgr:cgsser:05-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. See no evil
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-07-24 18:48:45
    2. Klass war
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-11-18 20:01:11
    3. Why Miliband is right
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2015-02-26 19:43:17
    4. When bad arguments work
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2017-05-17 17:25:39
    5. Biased to the powerful
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2018-01-10 20:15:24

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ignorance; moral wiggle room; experiment; real effort;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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