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Testing Theories of Reciprocity: Does Motivation Matter?

Luca Stanca, Luigino Bruni, Luca Corazzini
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Luca Stanca, Luigino Bruni, Luca Corazzini: ISLA, Universita' Bocconi, Milano

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Luca Stanca (), Luca Corazzini () and Luigino Bruni ()

No 29, ISLA Working Papers from ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy

Abstract: One of the key issues for understanding reciprocity is how people evaluate the kindness of an action. In this paper we argue that the motivation driving an action plays an important role for the reciprocating response to that action. We test experimentally the hypothesis that reciprocal behavior is stronger in response to actions driven by intrinsic motivation, as opposed to extrinsic motivation. Our results indicate that reciprocity is significantly stronger when extrinsic motivation can be ruled out, both at the aggregate and the individual level. These findings suggest that models of reciprocal behavior should take into account not only outcomes but also intentions and, in particular, motivations: the type of motivation of an action matters for its perceived kindness and, as a consequence, for reciprocity.

Keywords: Reciprocity; Intrinsic Motivation; Laboratory Experiments. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 C78 C91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-soc
Date: 2007-05
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