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Measuring Indirect Reciprocity: Whose Back Do We Scratch?

  • Luca Stanca

This paper presents an experimental investigation of strong indirect reciprocity. We examine both generalized indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then B helps C) and social indirect reciprocity (if A helps B then C helps A), in a setting where reciprocal behavior cannot be explained by strategic motivations. We also consider a treatment for direct reciprocity, as a benchmark, and use a variant of the strategy method to control for di®erences in ¯rst movers' actions across treatments. We ¯nd evidence of strong reciprocity within each treatment, both for strategies and decisions. Generalized indirect reciprocity is found to be signi¯cantly stronger than social indirect reciprocity and, interestingly, direct reciprocity. This ¯nd- ing is interpreted as re°ecting the relevance of ¯rst movers' motivation for second movers' reciprocal behavior.

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File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper131.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 131.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:131
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  1. Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Matthews, 2002. "Social Reciprocity," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0229, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  2. Greiner, Ben & Vittoria Levati, M., 2005. "Indirect reciprocity in cyclical networks: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 711-731, October.
  3. Luca Stanca, Luigino Bruni, Luca Corazzini, 2007. "Testing Theories of Reciprocity: Does Motivation Matter?," ISLA Working Papers 29, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
  4. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-05, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
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  7. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  8. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  9. Seinen, Ingrid & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Social status and group norms: Indirect reciprocity in a repeated helping experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-602, April.
  10. Simon Gaechter & Armin Falk, . "Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," IEW - Working Papers 019, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  11. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
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  13. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  14. Ken Binmore, 1998. "Game Theory and the Social Contract - Vol. 2: Just Playing," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 2, number 0262024446, June.
  15. Dirk Engelmann & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp215, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  16. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  17. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  18. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. Olof Leimar & Peter Hammerstein, 2003. "Evolution of Cooperation Through Indirect Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000794, David K. Levine.
  20. Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2000-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  21. 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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