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Who's naughty? Who's nice? Experiments on whether pro-social workers are selected out of cutthroat business environments

Mitchell Hoffman and John Morgan

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2015, vol. 109, issue C, 173-187

Abstract: Levitt and List (2007) hypothesize that pro-social individuals will be selected out of cutthroat industries. To study this, we measure the pro-social preferences of individuals in two such industries, domain trading and online adult entertainment (pornography). Contrary to the selection hypothesis, we find that these individuals exhibit a high degree of pro-sociality. They exhibit more altruism, trust, trustworthiness, and honesty than the typical student subject. They also respond differently to shame-based incentives. We offer a theory of reverse selection that can rationalize these findings.

Keywords: Selection hypothesis; Social preferences; Lying aversion; Shame aversion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 D22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2014.10.001

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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