Perceived Motives and Reciprocity

37 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2017

See all articles by A. Yesim Orhun

A. Yesim Orhun

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: June 5, 2017


In reciprocal interactions, both genuine kindness and self-interested material gain may motivate socially beneficial actions. The paper presents results from two experiments that distinguish the role of perceived motives in reciprocal decision making from the role of outcomes or perceived intentions. The results indicate that positive reciprocity triggered by the same beneficial action is lower when the first-mover is more likey to be motivated by strategic incentives. Therefore, stronger incentives for beneficial behavior may not increase total welfare.

Keywords: Motives, Beliefs, Reciprocity, Intentions, Social Preferences

JEL Classification: C91, C92, D63, D64, D84

Suggested Citation

Orhun, A. Yesim, Perceived Motives and Reciprocity (June 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

A. Yesim Orhun (Contact Author)

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

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