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Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control

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  • Myrseth, Kristian Ove R.

    (ESMT European School of Management and Technology)

  • Riener, Gerhard

    (DICE, University of Düsseldorf)

  • Wollbrant, Conny

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

The social dilemma may contain, within the individual, a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the argument from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (merely numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control—and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results shed light on the conditions under which self-control matters for cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Riener, Gerhard & Wollbrant, Conny, 2013. "Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, cooperation, and self-control," Working Papers in Economics 567, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0567
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/32944
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin G. Kocher & Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny E. Wollbrant, 2017. "Strong, bold, and kind: self-control and cooperation in social dilemmas," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 44-69, March.
    2. Junyi Shen & Hiromasa Takahashi, 2017. "The tangibility effect of paper money and coins in an investment experiment," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-5.
    3. Tobón Orozco, David & Molina, Carlos & Vargas, Harvey, 2018. "Can environmental taxes and payments for ecosystem services regulate pollution when the resilience of water bodies is surpassed?," Borradores Departamento de Economía 017179, Universidad de Antioquia - CIE.
    4. Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2014. "Social dilemmas: When self-control benefits cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 213-236.
    5. Hanna Freudenreich & Marcela Ibanez & Stephan Dietrich & Oliver Musshoff, 2018. "Formal insurance, risk sharing, and the dynamics of other-regarding preferences," Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (DARE) Discussion Papers 266532, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    6. Schultz, Ainslie E. & Lamberton, Cait & Nielsen, Jesper H., 2017. "Does pulling together lead to falling apart? The self-regulatory consequences of cooperative orientations for the self-reliant," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 70-79.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-control; Pro-social behavior; Public good experiment; Temptation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General

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