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Responsibility-allevation and effort provision in a gift-exchange experiment
Charness, Gary
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Previous indirect evidence suggests that impulses towards pro-socialbehavior are diminished when an external authority is responsiblefor an outcome. The responsibility-alleviation effect states that ashift of responsibility to an external authority dampens internalimpulses toward honesty, loyalty, or generosity. In a gift-exchangeexperiment, we find that subjects respond with more generosity(higher effort) when a wage is determined by a random process thanwhen it is assigned by a third party, indicating that even a slightshift in perceived responsibility for the final payoffs can changebehavior. Responsibility-alleviation is a factor in economicenvironments featuring substantial personal interaction.
Behavioral and Experimental Economics
social behavior
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