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Why Blame?


  • Gurdal, Mehmet Y.
  • Miller, Joshua Benjamin

    (The University of Melbourne)

  • Rustichini, Aldo


*Journal of Political Economy Link* *Full Bibliographic Reference* Gurdal, M.Y., Miller, J.B., & Rustichini, A. (2013), Why Blame?, Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 121, No. 6, pp. 1205-1246 ********************************************************* We provide experimental evidence that subjects blame others on the basis of events they are not responsible for. In our experiment an agent chooses between a lottery and a safe asset; payment from the chosen option goes to a principal, who then decides how much to allocate between the agent and a third party. We observe widespread blame: regardless of their choice, agents are blamed by principals for the outcome of the lottery, an event they are not responsible for. We provide an explanation of this apparently irrational behavior with a delegated expertise principal agent model, the subjects’ salient perturbation of the environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Gurdal, Mehmet Y. & Miller, Joshua Benjamin & Rustichini, Aldo, 2013. "Why Blame?," OSF Preprints g9j48, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:osfxxx:g9j48
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
    2. Peter P. Wakker, 2008. "Explaining the characteristics of the power (CRRA) utility family," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(12), pages 1329-1344.
    3. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aidin Hajikhameneh & Jared Rubin, 2019. "Exchange in the Absence of Legal Enforcement: Reputation and Multilateral Punishment under Uncertainty," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 192-237.
    2. Gary Charness & Aldo Rustichini & Jeroen van de Ven, 2013. "Self-Confidence and Strategic Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 4517, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Çelen, Boğaçhan & Schotter, Andrew & Blanco, Mariana, 2017. "On blame and reciprocity: Theory and experiments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 62-92.
    4. Chen, Daniel L., 2018. "Judicial Analytics and the Great Transformation of American Law," TSE Working Papers 18-974, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    5. Persson, Emil, 2016. "Frustration and Anger in Games: A First Empirical Test of the Theory," Working Papers in Economics 647, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Federica Liberini & Michela Redoano & Eugenio Proto, 2014. "Happy Voters," CESifo Working Paper Series 5002, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Chen, Daniel L., 2018. "Judicial Analytics and the Great Transformation of American Law," IAST Working Papers 18-87, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    8. Brownback, Andy & Kuhn, Michael A., 2019. "Understanding outcome bias," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 342-360.
    9. Liberini, Federica & Redoano, Michela & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Happy voters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 41-57.
    10. Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan & Boon Han Koh, 2018. "Attribution biases in Leadership: Is it effort or luck ?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 2040, The University of Melbourne.
    11. Bartling, Björn & Engl, Florian & Weber, Roberto A., 2014. "Does willful ignorance deflect punishment? – An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 512-524.
    12. Pan, Xiaofei & Xiao, Erte, 2016. "It’s not just the thought that counts: An experimental study on the hidden cost of giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 22-31.
    13. Pan, Xiaofei & Houser, Daniel, 2019. "Why trust out-groups? The role of punishment under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 236-254.
    14. Persson, Emil, 2018. "Testing the impact of frustration and anger when responsibility is low," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 435-448.
    15. Gary Charness & Aldo Rustichini & Jeroen Ven, 2018. "Self-confidence and strategic behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 72-98, March.
    16. Gawn, Glynis & Innes, Robert, 2019. "Lying through others: Does delegation promote deception?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 59-73.

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