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Heterogeneous guilt sensitivities and incentive effects

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  • Charles Bellemare
  • Alexander Sebald
  • Sigrid Suetens

Abstract

Psychological games of guilt aversion assume that preferences depend on (beliefs about) beliefs and on the guilt sensitivity of the decision-maker. We present an experiment designed to measure guilt sensitivities at the individual level for various stake sizes. We use the data to estimate a structural choice model that allows for heterogeneity, and permits that guilt sensitivities depend on stake size. We find substantial heterogeneity of guilt sensitivities in our population, with 60% of decision makers displaying stake-dependent guilt sensitivity. For these decision makers, we find that average guilt sensitivities are significantly different from zero for all stakes considered, while significantly decreasing with the level of stakes.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Bellemare & Alexander Sebald & Sigrid Suetens, 2017. "Heterogeneous guilt sensitivities and incentive effects," Cahiers de recherche 1708, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:crrecr:1708
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    Cited by:

    1. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Rimbaud, Claire & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Embezzlement and guilt aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 409-429.
    2. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Rimbaud, Claire & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2023. "Guilt aversion in (new) games: Does partners' payoff vulnerability matter?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 690-717.
    3. Natalia Montinari & Michela Rancan, 2018. "Risk taking on behalf of others: The role of social distance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 81-109, August.
    4. Sohn, Jin-yeong & Wu, Wenhao, 2022. "Reciprocity with uncertainty about others," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 299-324.
    5. Danilov, Anastasia & Khalmetski, Kiryl & Sliwka, Dirk, 2021. "Descriptive Norms and Guilt Aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 293-311.
    6. Bellemare, Charles & Sebald, Alexander & Suetens, Sigrid, 2019. "Guilt aversion in economics and psychology," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 52-59.
    7. Claire Rimbaud & Alice Soldà, 2021. "Avoiding the Cost of your Conscience: Belief Dependent Preferences and Information Acquisition," Working Papers halshs-03325963, HAL.
    8. Riccardo Ghidoni & Matteo Ploner, 2021. "When do the expectations of others matter? Experimental evidence on distributional justice and guilt aversion," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 189-234, September.
    9. Giuseppe Attanasi & Claire Rimbaud & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2020. "Guilt Aversion in (New) Games: the Role of Vulnerability," GREDEG Working Papers 2020-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
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    11. Patel, Amrish & Smith, Alec, 2019. "Guilt and participation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 279-295.
    12. Peeters, Ronald & Vorsatz, Marc, 2021. "Simple guilt and cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    13. Morell, Alexander, 2019. "The short arm of guilt – An experiment on group identity and guilt aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 332-345.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    guilt sensitivity; psychological game theory; Heterogeneity; stakes; dictator game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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