An experimental analysis from a taking game in Madagascar
This paper explores whether previous good deeds may license non-cooperative behavior such as damaging a social surplus for private benefits in Madagascar. We designed a two steps framed experiment, with one control and three treatments. In the first step, the three treatments consist in a task that enables subjects to earn moral credit, whereas the control group just has a neutral task (i.e. unscrambling sentences). The three treatments differ in the framing of the “moral boosting” task. In the second step, subjects are given the possibility to take an amount from a fund allocated to their University. We show that participants in the license condition adopt higher anti-social behavior than participants in control. First, the number of participants who decide to take money from the University’s fund increases under the license condition, and second, the average amount taken is significantly higher than in the control condition, even when only takers are considered. The framing of the preceding task seems to have little impact on self-licensing. However, a low degree of implication encourages greater morally dubious behavior. Finally, we found that license effect exists both for men and women, while the increase of anti-social behavior after a good deed is more pronounced for men.
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|Date of revision:||Jan 2014|
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