Actual behaviour is influenced in important ways by moral emotions, for instance guilt or shame (see among others Tangney et al., 2007). Belief-dependant models of social preferences using the framework of psychological games aim to consider such emotions to explain other-regarding behaviour. Our study links recent advances in psychological theory on moral emotions to belief-dependant models in economics. We find that - in addition to the positive effect of second-order beliefs and promises - individuals' disposition to guilt (their proneness to respond in an evaluative way to personal transgressions) is an important determinant of kind behaviour. This applies to private as well as public settings.
social preferences other-regarding behaviour experiments psychological game theory guilt aversion shame beliefs emotions partnership