Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, Cooperation, and Self-Control
40 Pages Posted: 27 May 2013
Date Written: May 24, 2013
The social dilemma may contain, within the individual, a self-control conflict between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the argument from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (merely numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control — and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results shed light on the conditions under which self-control matters for cooperation.
Keywords: self-control, pro-social behavior, public good experiment, temptation
JEL Classification: D01, D03, D64, D70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation