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Social Approval, Competition, and Cooperation

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  • Xiaofei Pan
  • Daniel Houser

Abstract

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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  • Xiaofei Pan & Daniel Houser, 2011. "Social Approval, Competition, and Cooperation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000299, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000299
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    2. Salmon, Timothy C. & Serra, Danila, 2017. "Corruption, social judgment and culture: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 64-78.
    3. Chao, Hong & Ho, Chun-Yu & Huang, Shaoqing & Qin, Xiangdong & Cong, Jiajia, 2019. "Partners or rivals? An experimental study of a two-stage tournament," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 288-310.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

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