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Beware of Popular Kids Bearing Gifts: A Framed Field Experiment

33 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2014  

Jingnan Chen

University of Exeter

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Natalia Montinari

University of Lund, School of Economics

Marco Piovesan

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 26, 2014

Abstract

The literature on pro-social behavior shows that older children are more generous than younger children; however, the level of individual generosity is heterogeneous even between children of the same age. This paper investigates whether a child’s popularity affects a child’s generosity. Our participants – 231 children, six to twelve years old – decide how many of their four colored wristbands they want to share with another anonymous child. We manipulate the visibility of this decision: in treatment Public, the decisions are revealed to the entire class at the end of the game, whereas in treatment Private children’s decisions remain secret. In addition, we elicited each child’s network of friends using an innovative “seating map” mechanism. Our results reveal that more popular children are more generous in Public than Private decision environments, while less popular children behave similarly in both cases. Moreover, older children in Public display greater generosity than (i) older children in Private and (ii) younger children in either Public or Private. Finally, in Public, older and more popular children share more than less popular older children, and more than younger children regardless of popularity; whereas, in Private there is no effect of popularity on children of any age.

Keywords: popularity, children, field experiment, public decision making, pro-social behavior

JEL Classification: C93, J13

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jingnan and Houser, Daniel and Montinari, Natalia and Piovesan, Marco, Beware of Popular Kids Bearing Gifts: A Framed Field Experiment (February 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2402407 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2402407

Jingnan Chen (Contact Author)

University of Exeter ( email )

Streatham Court
Exeter, EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science ( email )

5th Floor, Vernon Smith Hall
George Mason University
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
7039934856 (Phone)

Natalia Montinari

University of Lund, School of Economics ( email )

Tycho Brahes väg 1,
S-220 07 Lund, 223 63
Sweden

Marco Piovesan

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/piovesan/

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