Facing Yourself - A Note on Self-Image

20 Pages Posted: 11 May 2017  

Armin Falk

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Bonn - Economic Science Area; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: April 10, 2017

Abstract

Numerous signaling models in economics assume image concerns. These take two forms, as relating either to social image or self-image. While empirical work has identified the behavioral importance of the former, little is known about the role of self-image concerns. We exogenously vary self-image concerns in manipulating self-directed attention and study the impact on moral behavior. The choice context in the experiment is whether subjects inflict a painful electric shock on another subject to receive a monetary payment. Three between-subjects conditions are studied. In the main treatment, subjects see their own face on the decision screen in a real-time video feed. In the two control conditions, subjects see either no video at all or a neutral video. We find that the exogenous increase in self-image concerns significantly reduces the fraction of subjects inflicting pain.

Keywords: self-image, moral behavior

JEL Classification: D640, C910

Suggested Citation

Falk, Armin, Facing Yourself - A Note on Self-Image (April 10, 2017). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6428. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2965964

Armin Falk (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Bonn - Economic Science Area

Adenauerallee 24-42
D-53113 Bonn
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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