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Facing Yourself: A Note on Self-Image

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  • Falk, Armin

    () (briq, University of Bonn)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Falk, Armin, 2017. "Facing Yourself: A Note on Self-Image," IZA Discussion Papers 10606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10606
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Cueva, Carlos & Dessi, Roberta, 2012. "Charitable Giving, Self-Image and Personality," IDEI Working Papers 748, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    4. Mara Ewers & Florian Zimmermann, 2015. "Image And Misreporting," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 363-380, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    moral behavior; self-image;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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