Essays on framing, free riding, and punishment

Drouvelis, Michail (2009) Essays on framing, free riding, and punishment. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis presents an experimental investigation of free riding behaviour and, more particularly, individual responses to it using, as a workhorse, the so called public goods game. This game starkly isolates the conflict between private and collective interest, providing us with a simple measure of the extent of free riding behaviour. The unifying theme of the thesis is elicitation and analysis of different indicators for how subjects perceive free riding under a number of treatment manipulations.

Chapter 2 explores how people judge the morality of free riding in a public goods game by eliciting people's moral evaluations in hypothetical scenarios. The scenarios differed with respect to the framing of the game, the order of moves, and the behaviour of the non-judged player. Our findings suggest that free riding is perceived as morally reprehensible, except when the free rider moves second after observing that the other player free rode as well. We also find that moral judgments depend on others' behaviour, on framing and on the order of moves.

Chapter 3 analyses the effect of framing on social preferences, as measured by self- reported emotions and punishment. Our findings are that, for a given pattern of contributions, neither punishment nor emotion depends on our framing manipulation.

Chapter 4 assesses the behavioural consequences of unfair punishment. In this experiment, we generate an unfair environment by assigning punishment to all group members, irrespective of their first stage behaviour, We find that, although unfair punishment causes a different time profile of contributions, contributions are, on average, little different from in the standard punishment game; and the assignment of punishment in the latter is unaffected by experience of an environment with unfair punishment. However, a history of unfair punishment causes different reactions to helping behaviour and punishment received, respectively.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Cubbit, R.P.
Gaechter, S.
Subjects: H Social sciences > HB Economic theory
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Economics
Item ID: 11815
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2011 08:50
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2017 17:20

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