Social Norms and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas: The Effects of Context and Feedback

Published on May 1, 1999in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes2.908
· DOI :10.1006/obhd.1999.2825
Madan M. Pillutla22
Estimated H-index: 22
(HKUST: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology),
Xiao-Ping Chen29
Estimated H-index: 29
(IU: Indiana University)
Abstract Drawing from research on social norms, we proposed and tested the hypothesis that people behave more competitively in social dilemmas involving economic decisions compared to those involving noneconomic decisions. We also proposed that people would compete more if they see that others have unexpectedly competed in a prior situation and cooperate more when others have unexpectedly cooperated in a previous situation. Further, we hypothesized that if others behave consistently with expectations, such behaviors (either cooperative or competitive) would not affect subsequent behavior. One hundred ninety-five under graduate students participated in an experiment in which they made choices in two different social dilemma games. Results support the hypotheses, and the discussion addresses the implications of the study for research on social norms and decision making.
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