IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/feb/natura/00644.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Toward an understanding of the economics of apologies: evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Basil Halperin
  • Benjamin Ho
  • John List
  • Ian Muir

Abstract

We use a theory of apologies to analyze a nationwide field experiment involving 1.5 million Uber ridesharing consumers who experienced late rides. Several insights emerge. First, apologies are not a panacea: the efficacy of an apology and whether it may backfire depend on how the apology is made. Second, across treatments, money speaks louder than words - the best form of apology is to include a coupon for a future trip. Third, in some cases sending an apology is worse than sending nothing at all, particularly for repeated apologies. For firms, caveat venditor should be the rule when considering apologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Basil Halperin & Benjamin Ho & John List & Ian Muir, 2018. "Toward an understanding of the economics of apologies: evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00644, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00644
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers2/papers/00644.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Marco Battaglini, 2002. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1379-1401, July.
    3. Ben Gilbert & Alexander James & Jason F. Shogren, 2018. "Corporate apology for environmental damage," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 51-81, February.
    4. Abeler, Johannes & Calaki, Juljana & Andree, Kai & Basek, Christoph, 2010. "The power of apology," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 233-235, May.
      • Johannes Abeler & Juljana Calaki & Kai Andree & Christoph Basek, 2009. "The Power of Apology," Discussion Papers 2009-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    5. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    6. Cody Cook & Rebecca Diamond & Jonathan Hall & John A. List & Paul Oyer, 2018. "The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers," NBER Working Papers 24732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Benjamin Ho & Elaine Liu, 2011. "Does sorry work? The impact of apology laws on medical malpractice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 141-167, October.
    8. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    9. Bharat Chandar & Ali Hortacsu & John List & Ian Muir & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2019. "Design and Analysis of Cluster-Randomized Field Experiments in Panel Data Settings," Natural Field Experiments 00681, The Field Experiments Website.
    10. Benjamin Ho, 2012. "Apologies as Signals: With Evidence from a Trust Game," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 141-158, January.
    11. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    12. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    13. Peter Cohen & Robert Hahn & Jonathan Hall & Steven Levitt & Robert Metcalfe, 2016. "Using Big Data to Estimate Consumer Surplus: The Case of Uber," NBER Working Papers 22627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How Should You Ask for Forgiveness? (NSQ Ep. 27)
      by Rebecca Lee Douglas in Freakonomics on 2020-11-15 10:00:22

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hill Cummings, Krista & Seitchik, Allison E., 2020. "The differential treatment of women during service recovery: How perceived social power affects consumers’ postfailure compensation," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 647-658.
    2. Bharat Chandar & Uri Gneezy & John List & Ian Muir, 2019. "The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00680, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Kyeong Sam Min & Jae Min Jung & Kisang Ryu & Curtis Haugtvedt & Sathiadev Mahesh & John Overton, 2020. "Timing of apology after service failure: the moderating role of future interaction expectation on customer satisfaction," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 217-230, September.
    4. Wang, Hai & Yang, Hai, 2019. "Ridesourcing systems: A framework and review," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 122-155.
    5. Huang, Lidingrong, 2021. "Do not apologise too early," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    6. Moshe A. Barach & Joseph M. Golden & John J. Horton, 2020. "Steering in Online Markets: The Role of Platform Incentives and Credibility," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(9), pages 4047-4070, September.
    7. Moshe A. Barach & Joseph M. Golden & John J. Horton, 2019. "Steering in Online Markets: The Role of Platform Incentives and Credibility," NBER Working Papers 25917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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. Barmettler, Franziska & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2012. "Big experimenter is watching you! Anonymity and prosocial behavior in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 17-34.
    2. Bharat Chandar & Uri Gneezy & John A. List & Ian Muir, 2019. "The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 26380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    4. Pelligra, Vittorio, 2010. "Trust responsiveness. On the dynamics of fiduciary interactions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 653-660, December.
    5. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2013. "Do Wage Cuts Damage Work Morale? Evidence From A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 853-870, August.
    6. Bart J. Wilson, 2012. "Contra Private Fairness," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 407-435, April.
    7. Erik O. Kimbrough & Alexander Vostroknutov, 2016. "Norms Make Preferences Social," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 608-638, June.
    8. Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker & Radovan Vadovič, 2011. "Building Trust—One Gift at a Time," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-22, September.
    9. Konow, James, 2010. "Mixed feelings: Theories of and evidence on giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 279-297, April.
    10. Croson, Rachel & Gächter, Simon, 2010. "The science of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 122-131, January.
    11. Cunyat, Antoni & Sloof, Randolph, 2011. "Employee types and endogenous organizational design: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 553-573.
    12. Antoni Cunyat & Randolph Sloof, 2008. "Employee Types and Endogenous Organizational Design," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-019/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    13. Sebastian Kube & Michel Andre Marechal & Clemens Puppe, 2012. "The Currency of Reciprocity: Gift Exchange in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1644-1662, June.
    14. Pelligra, Vittorio & Stanca, Luca, 2013. "To give or not to give? Equity, efficiency and altruistic behavior in an artefactual field experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-9.
    15. Alger, Ingela & Van Leeuwen, Boris, 2019. "Estimating Social Preferences and Kantian Morality in Strategic Interactions," TSE Working Papers 19-1056, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jan 2021.
    16. Papa Stefano, 2011. "Oltre l’egoismo: L’approccio comportamentale alle preferenze," wp.comunite 0077, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    17. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
    18. 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.
    19. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism – Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 66, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    20. Graf Lambsdorff, Johann & Giamattei, Marcus & Werner, Katharina & Schubert, Manuel, 2016. "Emotion vs. cognition - Experimental evidence on cooperation from the 2014 Soccer World Cup," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-72-16, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    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:natura:00644. 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.