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Peer effects and social preferences in voluntary cooperation: a theoretical and experimental analysis

Thöni, Christian; Gaechter, Simon

Authors

Christian Thöni

SIMON GAECHTER simon.gaechter@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor, Psychology of Economic Decision Making



Abstract

Social preferences and social influence effects ("peer effects") are well documented, but little is known about how peers shape social preferences. Settings where social preferences matter are often situations where peer effects are likely too. In a gift-exchange experiment with independent payoffs between two agents we find causal evidence for peer effects. Efforts are positively correlated but with a kink: agents follow a low-performing but not a high-performing peer. This contradicts major theories of social preferences which predict that efforts are unrelated, or negatively related. Some theories allow for positively-related efforts but cannot explain most observations. Conformism, norm following and social esteem are candidate explanations.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2015
Journal Journal of Economic Psychology
Print ISSN 0167-4870
Electronic ISSN 0167-4870
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
APA6 Citation Thöni, C., & Gaechter, S. (2015). Peer effects and social preferences in voluntary cooperation: a theoretical and experimental analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology, 48, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2015.03.001
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2015.03.001
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2015.03.001
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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