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Exploiting Moral Wiggle Room

Exploiting Moral Wiggle Room - Andrew Rapaport Exploiting...

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Andrew Rapaport 2/3/09 Exploiting Moral Wiggle Room: Experiments Demonstrating and Illusory Preference for Fairness It has been found across a wide range of experiments that people tend to be concerned for others welfare more so than their own reputation or the chance of facing punishment. This particular phenomena is found most clearly in dictator games, where a “dictator” makes a one time disbursement of an endowment between themselves and an anonymous recipient who must accept the division. A purely self concerned dictator would keep the entire endowment but it was found that on average at least %20 was given to the recipient even though steps are taken to ensure anonymity. Theories assume that it reflects a preference for equitable outcomes or social welfare. For instance, someone may have something to gain by giving disbursements to others. Another motive is that people may feel compelled to give in certain situations even though they prefer to maximize their own profits because they do not want to appear as selfish. Therefore the main motivating factor may be self interest coupled with the desire to maintain the illusion of not being selfish. There are also many instances where a dictator would prefer not to know the consequences of their actions so that they do not feel the need to give.
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