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The prosociality of intuitive decisions depends on the status quo

Manja Gärtner

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2018, vol. 74, issue C, 127-138

Abstract: Previous research came to contradictory conclusion about the prosocial nature of intuitive decisions, as compared to deliberate decisions. This paper proposes the prosociality of the status quo allocation as a determinant of the prosociality of intuitive decisions. I present results from two experiments (N = 1,649) that manipulate time pressure and elicit response times in a binary dictator game. One of the choices is prosocial while the other is pro-self. The status quo option is varied to be equal to the prosocial allocation in one treatment and the selfish allocation in a second treatment. In a third treatment, there is no status quo allocation. Time pressure is found to increase selfishness in treatments without a status quo and has no effect on choices in treatments with a status quo. However, the status quo systematically affects response times. Prosocial choices are made significantly faster than selfish choices under a prosocial status quo and selfish choices are made significantly faster than prosocial choices under a selfish status quo.

Keywords: Social preferences; Intuition; Response times; Status quo; Dictator game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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