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Motivational cherry picking

  • Regner, Tobias
  • Riener, Gerhard

We construct a simple three person trust game with one trustor and two trustees. The trustor has the possibility to either trust both trustees or none, while the trustees make their decisions either sequentially or simultaneously, depending on the treatment. When trustees play sequentially, follower trustees who are informed about the leader's choice are significantly more selfish than in the simultaneous move treatment, independent of the leader's choice. Leaders do not behave significantly different than in the baseline treatment. Follower trustees cherry pick the motivation that materially serves them best. When the leader trustee plays selfish, they tend to conform. When the leader makes a pro-social choice, followers seem to perceive the duty as already fulfilled by the leader. While guilt works well as a motivational force in a dyadic situation, it gets alleviated easily when the situation allows a shifting of responsibility.

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Paper provided by Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE), University of Düsseldorf in its series DICE Discussion Papers with number 68.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:68
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