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Emotion Expression and Fairness in Economic Exchange

  • Erte Xiao

    ()

    (Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • Daniel Houser

    ()

    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Research in economics and psychology has established that informal sanctions,particularly expressions of negative emotion, can enforce fair economic exchange. However, scholars are only beginning to understand the reasons informal sanctions affect economic outcomes. Here we provide direct empirical evidence that a preference to avoid negative emotion expression plays an important role in promoting fair exchange. We study one-shot Dictator games, where one subject has the right to determine a division of an amount of money between herself and her receiver. In relation to the standard game, there are significantly less profit-maximizing offers when receivers can react to offers with ex post written messages. Our data provide new perspectives on roles communication systems play in promoting economic efficiency in social environments, and support economic theories of decision that incorporate psychological factors such as guilt and self-deception.

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File URL: http://www.gmu.edu/schools/chss/economics/icesworkingpapers.gmu.edu/pdf/1004.pdf
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Paper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1004.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1004
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  1. Richard J. Cebula, 2007. "Influences on the Voter Participation Rate," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 399-412, 04.
  2. Coupe, Tom & Noury, Abdul G., 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 261-265, August.
  3. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  5. Daniel Houser & Thomas Stratmann, 2008. "Selling favors in the lab: experiments on campaign finance reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 215-239, July.
  6. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2008. "Information Aggregation and Strategic Abstention in Large Laboratory Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 194-200, May.
  7. Abdul Noury, 2004. "Abstention in Daylight: Strategic Calculus of Voting in the European Parliament," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 179-211, October.
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