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An experimental analysis from a taking game in Madagascar

  • Sophie Clot
  • Gilles Grolleau
  • Lisette Ibanez

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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File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2014-02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2014
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Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 14-02.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision: Jan 2014
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:14-02
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  1. Eichenberger, Reiner & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1998. " Rational Moralists: The Role of Fairness in Democratic Economic Politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1-2), pages 191-210, January.
  2. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2005. "Do Social PreferencesIncrease Productivity? Field experimental evidence from fishermen in Toyoma Bay," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0515, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  3. Velez, Maria Alejandra & Stranlund, John K. & Murphy, James J., 2009. "What motivates common pool resource users? Experimental evidence from the field," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 485-497, June.
  4. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Stranlund, John & Willis, Cleve, 2000. "Local Environmental Control and Institutional Crowding-Out," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1719-1733, October.
  5. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
  6. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
  7. Sophie Clot & Gilles Grolleau & Lisette Ibanez, 2013. "Self-Licensing and Financial Rewards: Is Morality For Sale?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 2298-2306.
  8. Juan-Camilo Cardenas, 2004. "Norms from outside and from inside: An experimental analysis on the governance of local ecosystems," Artefactual Field Experiments 00025, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Douadia Bougherara & Sandrine Costa & Gilles Grolleau & Lisette Ibanez, 2010. "Can Positional Concerns Enhance the Private provision of Public Goods?," Working Papers 10-04, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Apr 2010.
  10. Olivier Armantier, 2006. "Do Wealth Differences Affect Fairness Considerations?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 391-429, 05.
  11. Castillo, Daniel & Saysel, Ali Kerem, 2005. "Simulation of common pool resource field experiments: a behavioral model of collective action," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 420-436, November.
  12. Vollan, Bjørn, 2008. "Socio-ecological explanations for crowding-out effects from economic field experiments in southern Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 560-573, November.
  13. Habyarimana, James P. & Humphreys, Macartan & Posner, Daniel N. & Weinstein, Jeremy, 2006. "Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2272, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "The relative price of fairness: gender differences in a punishment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 143-158, August.
  15. James C. Cox & Elinor Ostrom & Vjollca Sadiraj & James M. Walker, 2013. "Provision versus Appropriation in Symmetric and Asymmetric Social Dilemmas," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 496-512, January.
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