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An Economic Analysis of Business Drinking: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-field Experiment

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  • Jianxin Wang

    () (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)

Abstract

Alcohol consumption is an important component of business negotiations across many cultures, yet this behavior remains unmodeled and its potential implications untested. This paper is a step towards filling that gap. We develop a theory that combines guilt-aversion with a canonical alcohol myopia framework. Our GAAM (guilt aversion and alcohol myopia) model predicts that intoxication increases promise-making but has no effect on promise-breaking. We test these predictions using a prisoner’s dilemma game with pre-play communication in a lab-in-the-field experiment. Among males, we find behavior consistent with predictions: intoxication promotes promise-making behavior but does not impact the rate at which promises are trusted or broken. Consequently, intoxication increases communication efficiency. We do not observe intoxication to impact female promise-making, trusting, or promise-breaking behaviors. This is consistent with previous empirical findings that females are substantially less sensitive than males to alcohol- induced myopia.

Suggested Citation

  • Jianxin Wang & Daniel Houser, 2019. "An Economic Analysis of Business Drinking: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-field Experiment," Working Papers 1074, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1074
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Justus Haucap & Annika Herr, 2014. "A note on social drinking: In Vino Veritas," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 381-392, June.
    2. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Tjøtta, Sigve & Torsvik, Gaute, 2010. "Testing guilt aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-107, January.
    3. Topi Miettinen & Sigrid Suetens, 2008. "Communication and Guilt in a Prisoner's Dilemma," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 52(6), pages 945-960, December.
    4. Charness, Gary & Du, Ninghua & Yang, Chun-Lei & Yao, Lan, 2013. "Promises in contract design," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 194-208.
    5. Au, Pak Hung & Zhang, Jipeng, 2016. "Deal or no deal? The effect of alcohol drinking on bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 70-86.
    6. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2013. "Deception: The role of guilt," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 227-232.
    7. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    8. Klajdi Bregu & Cary Deck & Lindsay Ham & Salar Jahedi, 2017. "The Effects of Alcohol Use on Economic Decision Making," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(4), pages 886-902, April.
    9. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.
    10. Daniel Burghart & Paul Glimcher & Stephanie Lazzaro, 2013. "An expected utility maximizer walks into a bar..," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 215-246, June.
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