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An Experimental Study of Asymmetric Reciprocity

  • Omar Al-Ubaydli

    ()

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

  • Min Sok Lee

Do people have a stronger propensity to reward or punish? When reacting to intentions, Offerman (2002) concluded that people punish more. Using the Falk and Fischbacher (2006) model, we extend Offerman's design in two ways. First, we control for the strength of the positive/negative intentions to which an individual reacts when rewarding/punishing. Second, we can precisely compare the strength of intention- and distribution-based motives for reward/punishment. Doing so requires measuring second-order expectations of subjects' own behavior, i.e., what a subject predicts that other subjects predict that he will do. Second-order expectations can be elicited directly or they can be induced by telling a subject what others expect him to do. Under elicited second-order expectations, we find that negative reciprocity is stronger than positive reciprocity, though if we isolate the distributional motive for reciprocity, then we find that positive reciprocity is stronger than negative reciprocity. Under induced second-order expectations, positive distributional reciprocity is stronger than negative distributional reciprocity while other forms of reciprocity are equally strong.

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Paper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1006.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision: Jul 2008
Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1006
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