By now there is substantial experimental evidence that people make use of "moral wiggle room" (Dana et al., 2007), that is, they tend to exploit moral excuses for selfish behavior. However, this evidence is limited to dictator games. In our experiment, a trust game variant, we study whether moral wiggle room also prevails, when reciprocity is a potential motivation for being generous. Trustees´ back transfer choices are elicited for five different transfer levels of the trustor. Moreover, we ask trustees to provide their back transfer schedule for different scenarios that vary the implementation probability of the back transfer. This design allows us to identify subjects who reciprocate and analyze how these reciprocators respond to the provision of moral wiggle room. Our results suggest that moral wiggle room exists as well in the context of reciprocity. Among our subjects, 40% of the reciprocators exploited moral wiggle room.
experiments moral wiggle room pro-social behavior reciprocity self-image concerns social preferences