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The social costs of responsibility


  • Steven J. Humphrey

    () (Fachbereich Wirtschaftwissenschaften, Universitaet Osnabrueck)

  • Elke Renner

    () (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)


We use an experimental lottery choice task and public goods game to examine if responsibility for the financial welfare of others affects decisionmaking behaviour in two different types of decision environments. We find no evidence that responsibility affects individual risk preferences. Responsibility does, however, crowd-out cooperation in a public goods game.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven J. Humphrey & Elke Renner, 2011. "The social costs of responsibility," Discussion Papers 2011-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2011-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bixter, Michael T. & Luhmann, Christian C., 2014. "Shared losses reduce sensitivity to risk: A laboratory study of moral hazard," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 63-73.
    2. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:87-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hauge, Karen Evelyn & R√łgeberg, Ole, 2014. "Contributing to Public Goods as Individuals versus Group Representatives: Evidence of Gender Differences," Memorandum 16/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    responsibility; risk attitudes; social preferences; public goods game;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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