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You always meet twice: An experiment on intrinsic versus instrumental reciprocity

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  • Johnsen, Åshild A

    (UiS)

  • Kvaløy, Ola

    (UiS)

Abstract

In repeated games, it is hard to distinguish true prosocial behavior from strategic instrumental behavior. In particular, a player does not know whether a reciprocal action is intrinsically or instrumentally motivated. In this paper, we experimentally investigate the relationship between intrinsic and instrumental reciprocity by running a two-period repeated trust game. In the `strategic treatment' the subjects know that they will meet twice, while in the `non-strategic treatment' they do not know and hence the second period comes as a surprise. We find that subjects anticipate instrumental reciprocity, and that intrinsic reciprocity is rewarded. In fact, the total level of cooperation, in which trust is reciprocated, is higher in the non-strategic treatment. Instrumental reciprocity thus seems to crowd out intrinsic reciprocity: If one takes the repeated game incentives out of the repeated game

Suggested Citation

  • Johnsen, Åshild A & Kvaløy, Ola, 2014. "You always meet twice: An experiment on intrinsic versus instrumental reciprocity," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2014/2, University of Stavanger.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:stavef:2014_002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust; Reciprocity; Repeated Games; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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