Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding?

38 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2010

See all articles by Robin P. Cubitt

Robin P. Cubitt

University of Nottingham; University of Nottingham - Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx)

Michalis Drouvelis

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Simon Gaechter

University of Nottingham; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Ruslan Kabalin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 29, 2010

Abstract

In the last thirty years, economists and other social scientists have investigated people’s normative views on distributive justice. Here we study people’s normative views in social dilemmas, which underlie many situations of economic and social significance. Using insights from moral philosophy and psychology we provide an analysis of the morality of free riding. We use experimental survey methods to investigate people’s moral judgments empirically. We vary others’ contributions, the framing (“give-some” vs. “take-some”) and whether contributions are simultaneous or sequential. We find that moral judgments of a free rider depend strongly on others’ behaviour; and that failing to give is condemned more strongly than withdrawing all support.

Keywords: moral judgments, moral psychology, framing effects, public goods experiments, free riding

JEL Classification: C90, D63, H41

Suggested Citation

Cubitt, Robin P. and Drouvelis, Michalis and Gachter, Simon and Kabalin, Ruslan, Moral Judgments in Social Dilemmas: How Bad is Free Riding? (October 29, 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3230, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1702172

Robin P. Cubitt

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www/economics/staff/details/robin_cubitt.htm

University of Nottingham - Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

Michalis Drouvelis

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics ( email )

Economics Department
Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/michalisdrouvelis/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Simon Gachter (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Ruslan Kabalin

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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