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Facing Yourself: A Note on Self-Image

Listed author(s):
  • Falk, Armin

    ()

    (briq, University of Bonn)

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    Numerous signaling models in economics assume image concerns. These take two forms, as relating either to social image or self-image. While empirical work has identified the behavioral importance of the former, little is known about the role of self-image concerns. We exogenously vary self-image concerns in manipulating self-directed attention and study the impact on moral behavior. The choice context in the experiment is whether subjects inflict a painful electric shock on another subject to receive a monetary payment. Three between-subjects conditions are studied. In the main treatment, subjects see their own face on the decision screen in a real-time video feed. In the two control conditions, subjects see either no video at all or a neutral video. We find that the exogenous increase in self-image concerns significantly reduces the fraction of subjects inflicting pain.

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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10606.

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    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2017
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10606
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    1. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    2. Seabright Paul B, 2009. "Continuous Preferences and Discontinuous Choices: How Altruists Respond to Incentives," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-28, April.
    3. Ewers, Mara & Zimmermann, Florian, 2012. "Image and Misreporting," IZA Discussion Papers 6425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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