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Measuring the Distribution of Spitefulness

Author

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  • Kimbrough Erik O.
  • Reiss J. Philipp

    (METEOR)

Abstract

Spiteful, antisocial behavior undermines the moral and institutional fabric of society, producingdisorder, fear and mistrust. Previous research demonstrates the willingness of individuals to harmothers, but little is understood about how far people are willing to go in being spiteful or theirconsistency in spitefulness across repeated trials. Our experiment is the first to provideindividuals with repeated opportunities to spitefully harm anonymous others when the decisionentails zero cost to the spiter and cannot be observed by the object of spite. This method revealsthat the majority of individuals exhibit consistent (non-)spitefulness over time and that thedistribution of spitefulness is bipolar: when choosing whether to be spiteful, most individualseither avoid spite altogether or impose the maximum possible harm on their unwitting victims.

Suggested Citation

  • Kimbrough Erik O. & Reiss J. Philipp, 2012. "Measuring the Distribution of Spitefulness," Research Memorandum 040, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2012040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DavidJ. Cooper & Hanming Fang, 2008. "Understanding Overbidding In Second Price Auctions: An Experimental Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1572-1595, October.
    2. Timothy Cason & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Takehiko Yamato, 2002. "Voluntary Participation and Spite in Public Good Provision Experiments: An International Comparison," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(2), pages 133-153, October.
    3. Abbink, Klaus & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2009. "The pleasure of being nasty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 306-308, December.
    4. Naoko Nishimura & Timothy N. Cason & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Yoshikazu Ikeda, 2011. "Spite and Reciprocity in Auctions," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 1-47, September.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Karla Hoff & Mayuresh Kshetramade, 2008. "Spite and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 494-499, May.
    6. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte, 2010. "Inequality-seeking punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 20-23, October.
    7. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E. Roth, 2005. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 890-907, Winter.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Marina Schröder, 2012. "The Desire to Influence Others," FEMM Working Papers 120027, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    2. Le Zhang & Andreas Ortmann, 2012. "On the Interpretation of Giving, Taking, and Destruction in Dictator Games and Joy-of-Destruction Games," Discussion Papers 2012-50, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    3. Aidin Hajikhameneh & Jared Rubin, 2017. "Reputation and Multilateral Punishment under Uncertainty," Working Papers 17-14, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    4. Bartling, Björn & Netzer, Nick, 2016. "An externality-robust auction: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 186-204.
    5. Brice Corgnet & Antonio M. Espín & Roberto Hernán-González, 2015. "The cognitive basis of social behavior: cognitive reflection overrides antisocial but not always prosocial motives," Working Papers 15-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    6. repec:eee:ecolet:v:161:y:2017:i:c:p:71-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9828-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Schröder, Marina, 2017. "Acts of helping and harming," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 77-79.
    9. Björn Bartling & Tobias Gesche & Nick Netzer, 2017. "Does the absence of human sellers bias bidding behavior in auction experiments?," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 44-61, July.
    10. Zhang, Le & Ortmann, Andreas, 2016. "Pro-social or anti-social, or both? A within- and between-subjects study of social preferences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 23-32.

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    microeconomics ;

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