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Who helps whom? Risk taking and solidarity in a virtual world experiment

  • Lübbe, Ingmar
  • Bolle, Friedel

Most incomes underlie some risk, i.e. ex ante they can be regarded as a lottery ticket. In every society, the lucky winners of this lottery compensate unlucky losers (unemployed workers or bankrupt entrepreneurs) privately and/or by public insurances. Do voluntary solidarity payments depend on the amount and origin of risk of winners and losers? We differentiate between people with riskless incomes (civil servants), with low risk incomes (workers), and with high risk incomes (entrepreneurs). Some of our subjects had no choice of their risk class (civil servants and some workers), some of them had the choice to be a worker or an entrepreneur. The main stylized results are: (i) Civil servants and lucky workers with and without a choice transfer similar shares of their income to unlucky workers, but (ii) discriminate against unlucky entrepreneurs. (iii) Lucky entrepreneurs give about the same share of their income to unlucky workers as lucky workers do and (iv) do not significantly discriminate. (v) The potential solidarity payments are not an incentive for taking higher risks.

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Paper provided by European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 310.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:euvwdp:310
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  1. Thomas Chesney & Swee-Hoon Chuah & Robert Hoffmann, 2007. "Virtual world experimentation: An exploratory study," Discussion Papers 2007-14, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Fiore, Stephen M. & Harrison, Glenn W. & Hughes, Charles E. & Rutstrm, E. Elisabet, 2009. "Virtual experiments and environmental policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 65-86, January.
  3. Costard, Jano & Bolle, Friedel, 2011. "Solidarity, responsibility and group identity," Discussion Papers 309, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
  4. Friedel Bolle & Claudia Vogel, 2011. "Power comes with responsibility—or does it?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 459-470, September.
  5. Buitrago, Gelkha & Gueth, Werner & Levati, Maria Vittoria, 2009. "On the relation between impulses to help and causes of neediness: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 80-88, January.
  6. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri D. Hole & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2005. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1611, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Friedel Bolle & Yves Breitmoser & Jana Heimel & Claudia Vogel, 2012. "Multiple motives of pro-social behavior: evidence from the solidarity game," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 303-321, March.
  8. Cappelen, Alexander W & Konow, James & Sorensen, Erik O & Tungodden, Bertil, 2010. "Just luck: an experimental study of risk taking and fairness," MPRA Paper 24475, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Buchner, Susanne & Coricelli, Giorgio & Greiner, Ben, 2007. "Self-centered and other-regarding behavior in the solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 293-303, February.
  10. Sascha Fullbrunn & Katharina Richwien & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2011. "Trust and Trustworthiness in Anonymous Virtual Worlds," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 48-63.
  11. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2010. "Responsibility for what? Fairness and individual responsibility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 429-441, April.
  12. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
  13. Nadja Trhal & Ralf Radermacher, 2006. "Bad luck vs. self-inflicted neediness – An experimental investigation of gift giving in a solidarity game," Working Paper Series in Economics 28, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 07 Mar 2008.
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