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Why Blame?

  • Gurdal, Mehmet

    (Department of Economics, Bogazici University)

  • Miller, Joshua B

    (Department of Decision Sciences and IGIER, Unversita Bocconi)

  • Rustichini, Aldo

    (Department of Economics, University of Minnesota)

We provide experimental evidence that subjects blame others based on 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. JEL classification: C92 ; D63 ; C79

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2013/twerp_1022_rust.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1022.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1022
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  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. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Testing Theories of Fairness - Intentions Matter," IEW - Working Papers 063, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. 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.
  8. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  9. Gary Charness & David I. Levine, 2007. "Intention and Stochastic Outcomes: An Experimental study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1051-1072, 07.
  10. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
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