Contagion of Pro- and Anti-Social Behavior Among Peers and the Role of Social Proximity

39 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2018 Last revised: 15 May 2019

See all articles by Eugen Dimant

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral Ethics Lab

Date Written: March 1, 2019

Abstract

This paper uses a novel experimental design to study the contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior and the role of social proximity among peers. Across systematic variations thereof, we find that anti-social behavior is generally more contagious than pro-social behavior. Surprisingly, we also find that social proximity amplifies the contagion of anti-social behavior more strongly than the contagion of pro-social behavior. Anti-social individuals are also most susceptible to the behavioral contagion of other anti-social peers. These findings paired with the methodological contribution inform the design of effective norm-based policy interventions directed at facilitating pro-social behavior and reducing anti-social behavior in social and economic environments.

Keywords: Behavioral Contagion, Experiment, Peer Effects, Anti-Social Behavior, Pro-Social Behavior

JEL Classification: C91, D64, D9

Suggested Citation

Dimant, Eugen, Contagion of Pro- and Anti-Social Behavior Among Peers and the Role of Social Proximity (March 1, 2019). Journal of Economic Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3286770 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3286770

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral Ethics Lab ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/eugendimant/

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