Social Distance in a Virtual World Experiment

53 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2011

See all articles by Marina Fiedler

Marina Fiedler

University of Passau - Business Administration and Economics

Ernan Haruvy

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Xin Sherry Li

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 6, 2011

Abstract

We conduct a quasi-field experiment in a virtual world environment to investigate the impact of social distance on economic choices. We design trust games with partner selection, in which the proposer chooses between a familiar responder and a stranger with a higher multiplier. When choosing between the two responders, the proposer faces tradeoffs between economic opportunities and social distance. Comparing participants’ behaviors to those in a standalone trust game, we find that in the virtual world experiment the proposers are more likely to select the socially closer responders despite the lower rate of investment returns, and the latter reciprocate by returning a higher proportion than the socially distant responders. Virtual communication also plays an important role on the proposers’ choice and the responders’ reciprocity. In contrast, social distance and virtual communication have less impact in the lab with a student sample.

Keywords: experiment, trust game, partner selection

JEL Classification: C93, C99, D63

Suggested Citation

Fiedler, Marina and Haruvy, Ernan and Li, Xin Sherry, Social Distance in a Virtual World Experiment (July 6, 2011). Games and Economic Behavior, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1879851

Marina Fiedler (Contact Author)

University of Passau - Business Administration and Economics ( email )

Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultaet
Passau, D-94030
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.uni-passau.de/index.php?id=3199&L=2

Ernan Haruvy

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

Xin Sherry Li

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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