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Tangible temptation in the social dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control

Author

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  • Kristian Ove R. Myrseth

    (ESMT European School of Management and Technology)

  • Gerhard Riener

    (DICE, University of Düsseldorf)

  • Conny Wollbrant

    (University of Gothenburg)

Abstract

The social dilemma may contain, within the individual, a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the argument from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (merely numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control—and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results shed light on the conditions under which self-control matters for cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Gerhard Riener & Conny Wollbrant, 2013. "Tangible temptation in the social dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-13-04, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:esm:wpaper:esmt-13-04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny E. Wollbrant, 2017. "Strong, bold, and kind: self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 44-69, March.
    2. Junyi Shen & Hiromasa Takahashi, 2017. "The tangibility effect of paper money and coins in an investment experiment," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-5.
    3. Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2014. "Social dilemmas: When self-control benefits cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 213-236.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-control; pro-social behavior; public good experiment; temptation;

    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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