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Social Approval, Competition, and Cooperation

  • Xiaofei Pan
  • Daniel Houser

HollŠnder (1990) argued that when non-monetary social approval from peers is sufficiently valuable, it works to promote cooperation. HollŠnder, however, did not define the characteristics of environments in which high valued approval is likely to occur. This paper provides evidence from a laboratory experiment indicating that people under competition value approval highly, but only when winners earn visible rewards through approval. The evidence implies that approvalÕs value is tied to signaling motives. Our findings point to new institutions that rely on reward, rather than punishment, to efficiently promote generosity in groups.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000299.

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Date of creation: 20 Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000299
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