IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/feb/framed/00400.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Wallflowers: Experimental Evidence of an Aversion to Standing Out

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel Jones
  • Sera Linardi

Abstract

An extensive literature on reputation signaling in prosocial settings has focused on an intrinsic desire for positive reputation. In our paper, we provide experimental evidence that some individuals are averse to both positive and negative reputation and will therefore respond to visibility by signaling that they are an "average altruism type" relative to their audience. We formalize our hypotheses about "wallflower" behavior in a theoretical model. Our experimental results show that instead of uniformly increasing contributions, visibility draws contributions towards the middle of others' contributions. As a result, visibility is associated with higher levels of giving only when in scenarios where others are giving a large amount. We also observe heterogeneity in reputation concerns wallflower behavior is particularly strong for women and can be observed in several different settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Jones & Sera Linardi, 2014. "Wallflowers: Experimental Evidence of an Aversion to Standing Out," Framed Field Experiments 00400, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00400
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers2/papers/00400.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Fischbacher, Urs & Gächter, Simon & Quercia, Simone, 2012. "The behavioral validity of the strategy method in public good experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 897-913.
    3. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    4. Lan Shi, 2011. "Monetary Rewards, Image Concern, and Intrinsic Motivation: Evidence from a Survey on Blood Donation," Working Papers UWEC-2010-07-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2011.
    5. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: Evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1047-1060, June.
    6. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    7. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Differences in the Economic Decisions of Men and Women: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, in: Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 57, pages 509-519, Elsevier.
    8. Mike Peacey & Michael Sanders, 2013. "Masked Heroes: endogenous anonymity in charitable giving," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/303, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
    10. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2010. "Why volunteer? Evidence on the role of altruism, image, and incentives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 911-920, December.
    11. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    12. David Zetland & Marina Della Giusta, 2011. "Focal Points, Gender Norms and Reciprocation in Public Good Games," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2011-01, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    13. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 4.
    14. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 2.
    15. Xiaofei Sophia Pan & Daniel Houser, 2011. "Competition for Trophies Triggers Male Generosity," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 6(4), pages 1-6, April.
    16. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    17. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
    18. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
    19. James C. Cox & Cary A. Deck, 2006. "When Are Women More Generous than Men?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(4), pages 587-598, October.
    20. Carl Mellström & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 845-863, June.
    21. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    22. Sarah Smith & Frank Windmeijer & Edmund Wright, 2015. "Peer Effects in Charitable Giving: Evidence from the (Running) Field," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(585), pages 1053-1071, June.
    23. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1607-1636, September.
    24. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2013. "The Importance of Being Marginal: Gender Differences in Generosity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 586-590, May.
    25. David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2012. "Reputation and influence in charitable giving: an experiment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(2), pages 221-243, February.
    26. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
    27. Erin L. Krupka & Roberto A. Weber, 2013. "Identifying Social Norms Using Coordination Games: Why Does Dictator Game Sharing Vary?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 495-524, June.
    28. Adriaan Soetevent, 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context-a field experiment in thirty churches," Framed Field Experiments 00198, The Field Experiments Website.
    29. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
    30. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2011-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    31. Bardsley, Nicholas & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2005. "Conformity and reciprocity in public good provision," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 664-681, October.
    32. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    33. Linardi, Sera & McConnell, Margaret A., 2011. "No excuses for good behavior: Volunteering and the social environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 445-454.
    34. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Do all material incentives for pro-social activities backfire? The response to cash and non-cash incentives for blood donations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 738-748, August.
    35. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 6.
    36. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    37. Yan Chen & F. Maxwell Harper & Joseph Konstan & Sherry Xin Li, 2010. "Social Comparisons and Contributions to Online Communities: A Field Experiment on MovieLens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1358-1398, September.
    38. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 7.
    39. Timothy C. Salmon & Danila Serra, 2013. "Does Social Judgment Diminish Rule Breaking?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-05, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    40. Rachel Croson & Jen Shang, 2008. "The impact of downward social information on contribution decisions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(3), pages 221-233, September.
    41. Jen Shang & Rachel Croson, 2009. "A Field Experiment in Charitable Contribution: The Impact of Social Information on the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1422-1439, October.
    42. David Austen-Smith & Ronald G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of 'Acting White'," Discussion Papers 1399, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    43. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    44. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
    45. Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 1999. "Collective action as a social exchange," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 341-369, July.
    46. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    47. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    48. Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker, 2007. "Public Observability of Decisions and Voluntary Contributions in a Multiperiod Context," Public Finance Review, , vol. 35(2), pages 176-198, March.
    49. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    50. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 3.
    51. Dufwenberg, Martin & Muren, Astri, 2006. "Generosity, anonymity, gender," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 42-49, September.
    52. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 8.
    53. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Experimental Economics Results," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 5.
    54. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S., 1999. "The sound of silence in prisoner's dilemma and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 43-57, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. repec:pit:wpaper:485 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Philip J. Grossman & Mana Komai & James E. Jensen, 2015. "Leadership and gender in groups: An experiment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(1), pages 368-388, February.
    3. Laura K. Gee, 2019. "The More You Know: Information Effects on Job Application Rates in a Large Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(5), pages 2077-2094, May.
    4. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    5. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
    6. Hugh-Jones, David & Reinstein, David, 2014. "Exclude the Bad Actors or Learn About The Group," Economics Discussion Papers 10010, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    7. Hinnosaar, Marit, 2019. "Gender inequality in new media: Evidence from Wikipedia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 262-276.
    8. repec:esx:essedp:750 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Claussen, Jörg & Czibor, Eszter & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2015. "Women Do Not Play Their Aces: The Consequences of Shying Away," IZA Discussion Papers 9612, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
    11. Czibor, Eszter & Claussen, Jörg & van Praag, Mirjam, 2019. "Women in a men’s world: Risk taking in an online card game community," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 62-89.
    12. Gordon Burtch & Anindya Ghose & Sunil Wattal, 2013. "An Empirical Examination of the Antecedents and Consequences of Contribution Patterns in Crowd-Funded Markets," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 499-519, September.
    13. Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo & Elke Renner & Martin Sefton, 2009. "Sequential versus simultaneous contributions to public goods: Experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 2009-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    14. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    15. Sharma, Smriti, 2015. "Gender and distributional preferences: Experimental evidence from India," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 113-123.
    16. Furtner, Nadja C. & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2016. "Gender and cooperative preferences on five continents," Discussion Papers in Economics 30226, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    17. Rustichini, Aldo & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Moral hypocrisy, power and social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 10-24.
    18. Furtner, Nadja C. & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2021. "Gender and cooperative preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 39-48.
    19. Smriti Sharma, 2015. "Gender and Distributional Preferences: Experimental Evidence from India," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2015-062, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    20. Martijn J. van den Assem & Dennie van Dolder & Richard H. Thaler, 2012. "Split or Steal? Cooperative Behavior When the Stakes Are Large," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 2-20, January.
    21. Sharma, Smriti, 2015. "Gender and distributional preferences: Experimental evidence from India," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 113-123.
    22. David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle & Sophie Larribeau, 2012. "The Role of Information in Deterring Discrimination: A New Experimental Evidence of Statistical Discrimination," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201238, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00400. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.fieldexperiments.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joe Seidel The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Joe Seidel to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.fieldexperiments.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.