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Envy in Othello. Can effort explain such a tragic issue?

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  • Jérémy Celse

Abstract

We aim at disentangling the impact of effort on social emotions and more particularly on envy. Thus we observe the impact of effort on individual well-being and behaviour. In our experiment subjects are paired and receive endowments whether according to their performance in a real-effort task or randomly. We focus on subjects placed in situations of inferiority and ask them to report their satisfaction level before and after being exposed to unflattering social comparison. Finally, subjects can choose to reduce their opponent’s endowment by incurring a personal cost. We convey that the introduction of effort does not affect individual well-being and partially subjects’ decisions to reduce others’ income. Subjects do not reduce more often their opponent’s endowment but they cut a greater portion of their opponent’s endowment when endowments are attributed according to individual performance. Besides we observe that poor performing subjects are more prone to reduce others’ income than high performing ones. We also find evidences suggesting that envy is ought to explain reduction decisions engaged by high performing subjects and disappointment explicates reduction decisions engaged by low performing ones.

Suggested Citation

  • Jérémy Celse, 2010. "Envy in Othello. Can effort explain such a tragic issue?," Working Papers 10-23, LAMETA, Universitiy of Montpellier, revised 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:10-23
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    File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2010-23.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2012. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 469-503, February.
    2. van Winden, Frans & Krawczyk, Michal & Hopfensitz, Astrid, 2011. "Investment, resolution of risk, and the role of affect," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 918-939.
    3. Mui, Vai-Lam, 1995. "The economics of envy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 311-336, May.
    4. Ben-Shakhar, Gershon & Bornstein, Gary & Hopfensitz, Astrid & van Winden, Frans, 2007. "Reciprocity and emotions in bargaining using physiological and self-report measures," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 314-323, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jérémy CELSE, 2011. "Damaging the perfect image of athletes: How sport promotes envy," Working Papers 11-16, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2011.

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