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Wallflowers: Experimental Evidence of an Aversion to Standing Out

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  • 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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon Burtch & Anindya Ghose & Sunil Wattal, 2016. "Secret Admirers: An Empirical Examination of Information Hiding and Contribution Dynamics in Online Crowdfunding," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 27(3), pages 478-496, September.
    2. Kellner, Christian & Reinstein, David & Riener, Gerhard, 2015. "Stochastic income and conditional generosity," DICE Discussion Papers 197, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    3. repec:eee:pubeco:v:169:y:2019:i:c:p:109-127 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:joepsy:v:70:y:2019:i:c:p:36-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:158:y:2019:i:c:p:351-366 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ni Huang & Yili Hong & Gordon Burtch, 2015. "Digital Social Visibility, Anonymity and User Content Generation: Evidence from Natural Experiments," Working Papers 15-04, NET Institute.
    7. Kate Farrow & Gilles Grolleau & Lisette Ibanez, 2017. "Designing more effective norm interventions: the role of valence," Post-Print hal-01680539, HAL.
    8. Kate Farrow & Gilles Grolleau & Lisette Ibanez, 2018. "Designing more effective norm interventions: the role of valence," Working Papers hal-01954927, HAL.
    9. Marit Hinnosaar, 2015. "Gender Inequality in New Media: Evidence from Wikipedia," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 411, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    10. Anya Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2017. "Selective Recognition: How to Recognize Donors to Increase Charitable Giving," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1489-1496, July.
    11. Mbiti, Isaac M. & Serra, Danila, 2018. "Health Workers' Behavior, Patient Reporting and Reputational Concerns: Lab-in-the-Field Experimental Evidence from Kenya," IZA Discussion Papers 11352, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Christian Keller & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener & Michael Sanders, 2015. "Giving and Probability," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 15/336, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    13. repec:eee:ecolec:v:158:y:2019:i:c:p:180-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:ijrema:v:32:y:2015:i:4:p:418-424 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Luke Condra & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & Sera Linardi, 2015. "Selecting (In) and Crowding Out: Experimental Evidence of the Power of Religious Authority in Afghanistan," Framed Field Experiments 00398, The Field Experiments Website.
    16. Götte, Lorenz & Tripodi, Egon, 2018. "Social Influence in Prosocial Behavior:Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 13078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Christian Kellner & David Reinstein & Gerhard Riener, 2017. "Conditional generosity and uncertain income: Evidence from five experiments," Discussion Papers 1707, University of Exeter, Department of Economics.
    18. repec:spr:jesaex:v:4:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s40881-018-0058-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Muriel Niederle, 2014. "Gender," NBER Working Papers 20788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Steven R. Beckman & Gregory DeAngelo & W. James Smith & Ning Wang, 2016. "Is social choice gender-neutral? Reference dependence and sexual selection in decisions toward risk and inequality," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 191-211, June.

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