Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/103911
Authors: 
Schütte, Miriam
Thoma, Carmen
Year of Publication: 
2014
Series/Report no.: 
SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper 458
Abstract: 
According to several psychological and economic studies, non-binding communication can be an effective tool to increase trust and enhance cooperation. This paper focuses on reasons why people stick to a given promise and analyzes to what extent image concerns of being perceived as a promise breaker play a role. In a controlled laboratory experiment, we vary the ex post observability of the promising party's action in order to test for social image concerns. We observe that slightly more promises are kept if the action is revealed than if it is not, yet the difference is not significant. However, a variation in the selection of pre-defined messages across treatments delivers another interesting finding. While most of the promises are kept, statements of intent tend to be broken.
Subjects: 
Promises
communication
social image concerns
guilt
shame
behavioral economics
experiment
JEL: 
C70
C91
D03
D82
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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