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Social Approval, Competition and Cooperation

  • Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan

    ()

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

  • Daniel Houser

    ()

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

HollŠnder (1990) argued that when non-monetary social approval from peers is sufficiently valuable, it works to promote cooperation. HollŠnder, however, did not define the characteristics of environments in which high valued approval is likely to occur. This paper provides evidence from a laboratory experiment indicating that people under competition value approval highly, but only when winners earn visible rewards through approval. The evidence implies that approvalÕs value is tied to signaling motives. Our findings point to new institutions that rely on reward, rather than punishment, to efficiently promote generosity in groups.

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File URL: http://www.gmu.edu/schools/chss/economics/icesworkingpapers.gmu.edu/pdf/1028.pdf
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Paper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1028.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1028
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