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Who shows solidarity with the irresponsible?

  • Bolle, Friedel
  • Costard, Jano

In the Solidarity game lucky winners of a lottery can transfer part of their income to unlucky losers. Will losers get smaller transfers if they can be assumed to be responsible for their zero income because they have chosen riskier lotteries? Or will risk-lovers and riskaverters favor those who made the same risk-choice, leading to larger transfers within rather than between the risk-groups? While there is support for both motives in the literature, in an experiment we find that the effect of holding people responsible for their actions is overcome by behavior guided by in-group favoritism based on different levels of risk-taking. This behavior is successfully described by a variant of the social utility function suggested by Cappelen et al. (2013).

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2013-308.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2013308
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  1. B. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran & Robert J. Oxoby, 2011. "Us and `Them': the origin of identity, and its economic implications," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(3), pages 719-748, August.
  2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  3. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-57, March.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Selten, Reinhard & Ockenfels, Axel, 1998. "An experimental solidarity game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 517-539, March.
  8. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
  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. Helen Bernhard & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2006. "Group Affiliation and Altruistic Norm Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 217-221, May.
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