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Unpacking moral wiggle room: Information preferences and not information itself predict generosity

Danae Arroyos-Calvera, Rebecca McDonald, Daniel Read and Bruce Rigal
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Rebecca McDonald: University of Birmingham
Daniel Read: University of Warwick
Bruce Rigal: St Mary's University

Discussion Papers from Department of Economics, University of Birmingham

Abstract: It has been suggested that avoiding information provides people with moral wiggle room to behave less pro-socially. In a novel dictator game context we unpack the effect of moral wiggle room along two dimensions: whether information is hidden from the recipient or the dictator; and whether generosity is influenced by the information condition, or whether, instead, less generous types self-select into hidden information states. Participants (n=1,360) play a lottery dictator game with three treatments differing in who knows and does not know the endowment (the information state) and - importantly - whether the information state is exogenously or endogenously determined. We found that it was the information state dictators preferred, not the information state they eventually received, that could predict generosity. Dictators who preferred to hide information from the recipient were the least likely to make a generous transfer, and those who preferred to hide information from themselves were more likely to make a generous transfer.

Keywords: Self-image; Social-image; Self-Selection; Moral Wiggle Room; Information. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2020-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-gth and nep-hpe
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