Status Quo Effects in Fairness Games: Reciprocal Responses to Acts of Commission vs. Acts of Omission

41 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2011 Last revised: 3 Mar 2012

See all articles by James C. Cox

James C. Cox

Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Maroš Servátka

Macquarie Graduate School of Management - MGSM Experimental Economics Laboratory

Radovan Vadovic

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Date Written: February 29, 2012

Abstract

Both the law and culture make a central distinction between acts of commission that overturn the status quo and acts of omission that uphold it. In everyday life acts of commission often elicit stronger reciprocal responses than do acts of omission. In this paper we compare reciprocal responses to both types of acts and ask whether behavior of subjects in two experiments is consistent with existing theory. The design of the experiments focuses on the axioms of revealed altruism theory (Cox, Friedman, and Sadiraj, 2008) that make it observationally distinct from other theories, Axiom R (for reciprocity) and Axiom S (for status quo). We find support for this theory in both experiments.

Keywords: Experimental economics, reciprocity, revealed altruism, acts of commission, acts of omission, other-regarding preferences, status quo

JEL Classification: C70, C91

Suggested Citation

Cox, James C. and Servátka, Maroš and Vadovic, Radovan, Status Quo Effects in Fairness Games: Reciprocal Responses to Acts of Commission vs. Acts of Omission (February 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1977853 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1977853

James C. Cox

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-651-8888 (Phone)
404-651-0425 (Fax)

Maroš Servátka (Contact Author)

Macquarie Graduate School of Management - MGSM Experimental Economics Laboratory ( email )

Sydney
Australia

Radovan Vadovic

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) ( email )

Av. Camino a Sta. Teresa 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 01000, Federal District 01080
Mexico

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