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Title:The appearance of homo rivalis: Social preferences and the nature of rent seeking PDF Logo
Authors:Herrmann , Benedikt
Orzen, Henrik
Issue Date:2008
Series/Report no.:CeDEx discussion paper series 2008-10
Abstract:While numerous experiments demonstrate how pro-sociality can influence economic decision-making, evidence on explicitly anti-social economic behavior has thus far been limited. In this paper we investigate the importance of spite in experimental rent-seeking contests. Although, as we show, existing evidence of excessive rent-seeking is in theory compatible with fairness considerations, our social preference elicitations reveal that subjects' investments are driven by spite, not fairness or reciprocity. We also observe a striking disconnect between individuals' revealed social preferences in our contest game and in a standard prisoner's dilemma, rejecting the idea that there are consistent pro-social, selfish or anti-social 'types'. Moreover, we find that cooperation and reciprocity rates drop substantially after subjects have been exposed to rent-seeking competition.
Subjects:contests
other-regarding preferences
experiments
JEL:A13
C9
D0
D72
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:CeDEx Discussion Paper Series, The University of Nottingham

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