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Costly Punishment in the Ultimatum Game Evokes Moral Concern, in Particular when Framed as Payoff Reduction

Eriksson, Kimmo, Strimling, Pontus, Andersson, Per A, Lindholm, Torun (2016) Costly Punishment in the Ultimatum Game Evokes Moral Concern, in Particular when Framed as Payoff Reduction. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 69 . pp. 59-64. ISSN 0022-1031. (doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.09.004) (KAR id:65486)

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The ultimatum game is a common economic experiment in which some participants reject another’s unfair offer of how to split some money, even though it leaves them both worse off. This costly behavior can be seen as enforcement of a fairness norm and has been labeled “altruistic punishment”, suggesting that it is a moral thing to do. But is this behavior viewed as moral by participants? Is it viewed as punishment? And are the payoff consequences of the behavior sufficient to determine the answers to these questions? To investigate this we framed costly punishment in two different ways: either as rejection of an offer (the standard ultimatum game framing) or as reduction of payoff. In a series of paid and hypothetical experiments we found that moral concerns about costly punishment depended on the framing. Specifically, the reduction frame elicited more moral concern about, and less use of, costly punishment than did the rejection frame. Several implications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.09.004
Additional information: Included in Kimmo Eriksson's PhD thesis "Informal punishment of non-cooperators" Publication not found on alternative repository online & author at non-UK institution at time of publication. CW 09.08.18
Uncontrolled keywords: costly punishment; ultimatum game; norm enforcement; motives; framing; moral judgment
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: K. Eriksson
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2017 20:20 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:51 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Eriksson, Kimmo:
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