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Public goods, role models and "sucker aversion": the audience matters

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  • Attanasi, Giuseppe
  • Dess�, Roberta
  • Moisan, Frederic
  • Robertson, Donald

Abstract

Intergenerational interactions play an important part in society with older generations often acting as role models that influence younger ones. We investigate in a public good experiment how the behavior of more experienced and knowledgeable players (graduate students) is affected when they are informed that some of their personal and behavioral characteristics will be transmitted to future first-year undergraduates (enrolling the following year) playing the same game at the same university. In the "information" treatment, the history of behavior is transmitted with some personal characteristics (e.g. age and gender). In the "photo" treatment, a photo is also transmitted. Despite the absence of any monetary linkage between generations, our results show a significant effect of visibility by the future audience on initial contributions and dynamic behavior. Contrary to previous findings in the literature, contributions are lower in the presence of such personal identification. We explain this surprising negative effect by a "sucker aversion" bias according to which people become more sensitive to being perceived as exploited by their peers. We argue that the nature of the "audience" matters in reaching such an undesirable outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Attanasi, Giuseppe & Dess�, Roberta & Moisan, Frederic & Robertson, Donald, 2017. "Public goods, role models and "sucker aversion": the audience matters," CEPR Discussion Papers 12413, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Attanasi & Kene Boun My & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Miguel Ginés, 2019. "Strategic Ethics: Altruism without the Other-regarding Confound," GREDEG Working Papers 2019-13, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

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