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What Drives Destruction? On the Malleability of Anti-Social Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Julia Müller

    () (Institute for Organisational Economics, University of Münster)

  • Christiane Schwieren

    () (Alfred-Weber-Institute for Economics, University of Heidelberg)

  • Florian Spitzer

    () (Department of Strategy and Innovation, Vienna University of Economics and Business)

Abstract

Many recent experimental studies have shown that some subjects destroy other subjects’ incomes without receiving any material benefit, and that they even incur costs to do so. In this paper, we study the boundary conditions of this phenomenon, which is referred to as anti-social behavior. We introduce a four-player destruction game, in which we vary the framing and the presence of another activity, running in parallel to the destruction game. We observe a substantial amount of destruction in the baseline condition without the parallel activity, and with a framing in the spirit of previous destruction experiments. Our results indicate that a parallel activity as well as a framing emphasizing joint ownership of the item that can be destroyed reduces destruction almost to zero. We therefore argue that the emergence of anti-social behavior is highly contingent on the contextual environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Müller & Christiane Schwieren & Florian Spitzer, 2016. "What Drives Destruction? On the Malleability of Anti-Social Behavior," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp238, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwwuw:wuwp238
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    anti-social behavior; joy of destruction; experiment; framing; boredom;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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