Reconciling Pro-Social vs. Selfish Behavior: Evidence for the Role of Self-Control

Published in Judgment and Decision Making, 7(3): 304-315

ESMT Working Paper No. 10-003 (R1)

64 Pages Posted: 25 May 2010 Last revised: 5 Mar 2013

See all articles by Peter Martinsson

Peter Martinsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics and Statistics

Kristian Ove R. Myrseth

University of York

Conny E. Wollbrant

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law

Date Written: July 9, 2010

Abstract

We test the proposition that individuals may experience a self-control conflict between short-term temptation to be selfish and better judgment to act pro-socially. Using a dictator game and a public goods game, we manipulated the likelihood that individuals identified self-control conflict, and we measured their trait ability to implement self-control strategies. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that trait self-control exhibits a positive and significant correlation with pro-social behavior in the treatment that raises likelihood of conflict identification, but not in the treatment that reduces likelihood of conflict identification.

Keywords: self-control, pro-social behavior, altruism, experiment

JEL Classification: D01, D03, D64, D70

Suggested Citation

Martinsson, Peter and Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. and Wollbrant, Conny E., Reconciling Pro-Social vs. Selfish Behavior: Evidence for the Role of Self-Control (July 9, 2010). Published in Judgment and Decision Making, 7(3): 304-315, ESMT Working Paper No. 10-003 (R1), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1615575 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1615575

Peter Martinsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Box 640
Vasagatan 1, E-building, floor 5 & 6
Göteborg, 40530
Sweden

Kristian Ove R. Myrseth (Contact Author)

University of York ( email )

Sally Baldwin Buildings
Heslington
York, North Yorkshire YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

Conny E. Wollbrant

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Goteborg, 40530
Sweden

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