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On the Acceptance of Apologies

Author

Listed:
  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Verena Utikal

Abstract

An apology is a strong and cheap device to restore social or economic relationships that have been disturbed. In a laboratory experiment we find that harmdoers use apologies in particular if they fear punishment and when their intentions cannot be easily inferred. After offenses with ambiguous intentionality apologizers are punished less often than nonapologizers. Victims expect an apology and punish if they do not receive one. If an apology is possible, harmdoers who apologize are punished with lower probability. An apology only affects the event of punishment but not the level of punishment. An apology does not help at all after clearly intentionally committed offenses. On the contrary, after such offenses harmdoers do better not to apologize since sending an apology in this situation strongly increases punishment compared to remaining silent.

Suggested Citation

  • Urs Fischbacher & Verena Utikal, 2010. "On the Acceptance of Apologies," TWI Research Paper Series 53, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0053
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Difficulty of Apologizing
      by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2010-07-14 03:10:44
    2. Sorry seems to be the hardest word
      by Kevin Denny in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-07-12 21:59:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Utikal, Verena, 2012. "A fault confessed is half redressed—Confessions and punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 314-327.
    2. Schniter, Eric & Sheremeta, Roman, 2014. "Predictable and Predictive Emotions: Explaining Cheap Signals and Trust Re-Extension," MPRA Paper 59665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Schniter, Eric & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Sznycer, Daniel, 2013. "Building and rebuilding trust with promises and apologies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 242-256.
    4. Srivastava, Vatsalya, 2017. "The Sorry Clause (revision of CentER DP 2016-008)," Discussion Paper 2017-002, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2013. "Strategic ignorance in ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 104-115.
    6. Srivastava, Vatsalya, 2017. "The Sorry Clause (Revision of TILEC DP 2016-004)," Discussion Paper 2017-002, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    7. Srivastava, Vatsalya, 2016. "The Sorry Clause," Discussion Paper 2016-008, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Radu Vranceanu & Angela Sutan & Delphine Dubart, 2016. "Discontent with taxes and the timing of taxation : experimental evidence," Working Papers hal-01282724, HAL.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:15-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Ben Gilbert & Alexander James & Jason F. Shogren, 2018. "Corporate apology for environmental damage," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 51-81, February.
    11. Srivastava, Vatsalya, 2016. "The Sorry Clause," Discussion Paper 2016-004, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Apology; Intentions; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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