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Reconciling pro-social versus selfish behavior: Evidence for the role of self-control

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Martinsson

    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Kristian Ove R. Myrseth

    (ESMT European School of Management and Technology)

  • Conny Wollbrant

    (University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

We test the proposition that individuals may experience a self-control conflict between short-term temptation to be selfish and better judgment to act pro-socially. Using a dictator game and a public goods game, we manipulated the likelihood that individuals identified self-control conflict, and we measured their trait ability to implement self-control strategies. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that trait self-control exhibits a positive and significant correlation with pro-social behavior in the treatment that raises likelihood of conflict identification, but not in the treatment that reduces likelihood of conflict identification.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2010. "Reconciling pro-social versus selfish behavior: Evidence for the role of self-control," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-10-003 (R1), ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 09 Jul 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:esm:wpaper:esmt-10-003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2010. "Conditional Cooperation: Evidence for the Role of Self-Control," Working Papers in Economics 459, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-control; pro-social behavior; altruism; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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