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Resisting Moral Wiggle Room: How Robust is Reciprocity?

Author

Listed:
  • van der Weele, Joël

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Kulisa, Julija

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Kosfeld, Michael

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Friebel, Guido

    () (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract

Several studies have shown that dictator-game giving declines substantially if the dictator can exploit situational "excuses" for not being generous. In this experimental study we investigate if this result extends to more natural social interactions involving reciprocal behavior. We provide the second mover in a reciprocal game with an excuse for not reciprocating, an excuse which has previously been shown to strongly reduce giving in dictator games. We do not find that the availability of the excuse has any effect at all on reciprocal behavior, and conclude that reciprocity is a more stable disposition than dictator game generosity.

Suggested Citation

  • van der Weele, Joël & Kulisa, Julija & Kosfeld, Michael & Friebel, Guido, 2010. "Resisting Moral Wiggle Room: How Robust is Reciprocity?," IZA Discussion Papers 5374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5374
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
    2. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
    3. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
    4. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
    5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    6. Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
    8. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    9. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bradler, Christiane & Neckermann, Susanne & Warnke, Arne Jonas, 2016. "Incentivizing creativity: A large-scale experiment with tournaments and gifts," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-040, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2013. "Peer Effects In Pro-Social Behavior: Social Norms Or Social Preferences?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 548-573, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    moral wiggle room; reciprocity;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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