Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/215072
Authors: 
Bolton, Gary E.
Dimant, Eugen
Schmidt, Ulrich
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
CESifo Working Paper 8070
Abstract: 
Both theory and recent empirical evidence on nudging suggest that observability of behavior acts as an instrument for promoting (discouraging) pro-social (anti-social) behavior. We connect three streams of literature (nudging, social preferences, and social norms) to investigate the universality of these claims. By employing a series of high-powered laboratory and online studies, we report here on an investigation of the questions of when and in what form backfiring occurs, the mechanism behind the backfiring, and how to mitigate it. We find that inequality aversion moderates the effectiveness of such nudges and that increasing the focus on social norms can counteract the backfiring effects of such behavioral interventions. Our results are informative for those who work on nudging and behavioral change, including scholars, company officials, and policy-makers.
Subjects: 
anti-social behavior
nudge
pro-social behavior
reputation
social norms
JEL: 
C91
D64
D90
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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