Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/49653
Authors: 
Herrmann , Benedikt
Orzen, Henrik
Year of Publication: 
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

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