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Does indignation lead to generosity? An experimental investigation

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  • Emmanuel PETIT (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113)

Abstract

We test the effect of emotions on moral behaviour in a one shot gift-exchange game. Using the emotional induction technique, we induce either positive or negative emotions to the subjects before they play the game. We also consider a control treatment, without any affect manipulation. Emotional induction was effective: participants who saw the shocking and appalling movie reported significantly stronger negative emotions and weaker positive emotions than those who saw the funny movie. We find that players’ choices differ significantly across emotional conditions: we observe essentially that second movers who experience positive or neutral emotions do reciprocate whereas subjects overwhelmed with indignation, anger or guilt feelings show a very strong unconditional generous behaviour and do not reciprocate at all. We argue that indignation has a strong proactive force which allows subjects to reveal to themselves their own true values.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel PETIT (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2009. "Does indignation lead to generosity? An experimental investigation," Cahiers du GREThA 2009-10, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  • Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2009-10
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    File URL: http://cahiersdugretha.u-bordeaux4.fr/2009/2009-10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emotions; moral values; gift-exchange game;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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