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Social Desirability, Approval and Public Good Contribution

20 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2009 Last revised: 23 Mar 2011

Piers Fleming

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Psychology; University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS)

Daniel John Zizzo

BENC and Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University

Date Written: December 1, 2009

Abstract

Behaviour in public good experiments is usually attributed partly to rational self-interest and partly to social norms and preferences. This paper examines if sensitivity to social desirability affects public good contribution and in what way. A pre-experimental measure of social desirability (SDS17) was used to match partners in a two-person public good game. Half the participants received experimenter approval based upon their investment. Contrary to predictions, the highest public good investment was by low social desirability participants in the approval condition. Social desirability was not positively related to pro-social behaviour. We consider its relation to experimental and social conformity.

Keywords: Social Desirability, Experimental demand effects, Decision-making, Public goods, Conformity, Image management

JEL Classification: C91, H41

Suggested Citation

Fleming, Piers and Zizzo, Daniel John, Social Desirability, Approval and Public Good Contribution (December 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1521952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1521952

Piers Fleming

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Psychology ( email )

Norwich, Norfolk
United Kingdom

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) ( email )

Daniel John Zizzo (Contact Author)

BENC and Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University ( email )

United Kingdom

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