Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game

Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 132

33 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2003

See all articles by Dirk Engelmann

Dirk Engelmann

University of London - Royal Holloway - Department of Economics

Urs Fischbacher

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics

Date Written: November 2002

Abstract

We study indirect reciprocity and strategic reputation building in an experimental helping game. At any time only half of the subjects can build a reputation. This allows us to study both pure indirect reciprocity that is not contaminated by strategic reputation building and the impact of incentives for strategic reputation building on the helping rate. We find that while pure indirect reciprocity appears to be important, the helping choice seems to be influenced at least as much by strategic considerations. Strategic do better than non-strategic players and non-reciprocal do better than reciprocal players, casting doubt on previously proposed evolutionary explanations for indirect reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

Engelmann, Dirk and Fischbacher, Urs, Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game (November 2002). Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 132, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=352540 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.352540

Dirk Engelmann (Contact Author)

University of London - Royal Holloway - Department of Economics ( email )

Egham, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

Urs Fischbacher

University of Konstanz - Faculty of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 10
78457 Konstanz
Germany

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