Public Statements of Good Conduct Promote Pro-Social Behavior

33 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2018  

Ann-Kathrin Koessler

Institute for Environmental Systems Research

Lionel Page

Queensland University of Technology

Uwe Dulleck

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance

Date Written: May 25, 2018

Abstract

Voluntary and compulsory public statements of good conduct are frequently observed in the real world, such as the codes of good conduct for professionals or the requirements of academic journals to affirm that research was carried out ethically.

In this study, we investigate what effect public statements of good conduct have on contribution behavior in a public goods experiment. Using a 'between-within subjects design' we identify three channels by which non-enforceable statements of intent are associated with higher levels of contributions to the public good. First, in a selection effect, socially-oriented participants are more likely in the experiment to make a public statement. Second, in a commitment effect, participants who make a public statement are contributing more to the public good. Third, in a coordination effect, aggregate contributions are higher when 'Statement-Makers' observe that also other group members make the statement. The latter explains why compulsory statements of good conduct are in our experiment more effective over time.

Keywords: social dilemma, pro-social behavior, commitment, compliance, public good, policy making

JEL Classification: A13, C72, C91, H41

Suggested Citation

Koessler, Ann-Kathrin and Page, Lionel and Dulleck, Uwe, Public Statements of Good Conduct Promote Pro-Social Behavior (May 25, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3184836 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3184836

Ann-Kathrin Koessler (Contact Author)

Institute for Environmental Systems Research ( email )

Barbarastr. 12
Osnabrueck, 49076
Germany

Lionel Page

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Australia

Uwe Dulleck

Queensland University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

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