Ernesto Reuben

Fairness Perceptions and Prosocial Emotions in the Power to Take

Coauthor(s): Frans van Winden.


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This experimental study investigates how behavior changes after receiving punishment. The focus is on how proposers in a power-to-take game adjust their behavior depending on their fairness perceptions, their experienced emotions, and their interaction with responders. We find that fairness plays an important role: proposers who take what they consider to be an unfair amount experience higher intensities of prosocial emotions (shame and guilt), particularly if they are punished. This emotional experience induces proposers to lower their claims. We also find that fairness perceptions vary considerably between individuals. Therefore, it is not necessarily the case that proposers who considered themselves fair are taking less from responders than other proposers. Lastly, we provide evidence that suggests that eliciting emotions through self-reports does not affect subsequent behavior.

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Source: Journal of Economic Psychology
Exact Citation:
Reuben, Ernesto, and Frans van Winden. "Fairness Perceptions and Prosocial Emotions in the Power to Take." Journal of Economic Psychology 31, no. 6 (December 2010): 908-922.
Volume: 31
Number: 6
Pages: 908-922
Date: 12 2010