Measuring the Welfare Effects of Shame and Pride

98 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019

See all articles by Luigi Butera

Luigi Butera

Copenhagen Business School

Robert Metcalfe

University of Chicago - Becker Friedman Institute for Economics

William Morrison

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Dmitry Taubinsky

Harvard University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

Public recognition is a frequent tool for motivating desirable behavior, yet its welfare effects are rarely measured. We develop a portable money-metric approach for measuring the direct welfare effects of shame and pride, which we deploy in a series of experiments on exercise and charitable behavior. In all experiments, public recognition motivates desirable behavior but creates highly unequal emotional consequences. High-performing individuals enjoy significant utility gains from pride, while low-performing individuals incur significant utility losses from shame. We estimate structural models of social signaling, and we use the models to explore the social efficiency of public recognition policies.

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Suggested Citation

Butera, Luigi and Metcalfe, Robert and Morrison, William and Taubinsky, Dmitry, Measuring the Welfare Effects of Shame and Pride (March 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25637, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3351838

Luigi Butera (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Denmark

Robert Metcalfe

University of Chicago - Becker Friedman Institute for Economics ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

William Morrison

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

Dmitry Taubinsky

Harvard University ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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