For a Dollar, Would You...? How (We Think) Money Affects Compliance with Our Requests
Posted: 2 May 2016
Date Written: 2016
Research has shown a robust tendency for people to underestimate their ability to get others to comply with their requests. In five studies, we demonstrate that this underestimation-of-compliance effect is reduced when requesters offer money in exchange for compliance. In Studies 1 and 2, participants assigned to a no-incentive or monetary-incentive condition made actual requests of others. In both studies, requesters who offered no incentives underestimated the likelihood that those they approached would grant their requests; however, when requesters offered monetary incentives, this prediction error was mitigated. In Studies 3-5, we present evidence in support of a model to explain the underlying mechanism for this attenuation effect. Studies 3 and 4 demonstrate that offering monetary incentives activates a money-market frame. In Study 5, we find that this activation reduces the discomfort associated with asking, allowing requesters to more accurately assess the size of their request and, consequently, the likelihood of compliance.
Keywords: Compliance, Money, Morality, Prosocial Behavior, Social Influence, Behavioral Economics, Unethical Behavior
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