Intention and Stochastic Outcomes: An Experimental Study

30 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2003

See all articles by Gary Charness

Gary Charness

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

David I. Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Date Written: December 5, 2005

Abstract

Do people care about intentions - even when good intentions do not produce good results? In our experiments we find that rates of punishment and reward react strongly to intentions (the wage a firm decides to pay) and more modestly to distributional outcomes (the higher or lower wage actually received including the stochastic component). For example, workers who end up receiving 'medium' wages respond much more positively when this resulted from the firm offering a high wage (but bad luck lowered the worker's pay) than when this resulted from the firm offering a low wage (and good luck raised the pay).

Keywords: Intentions, Reciprocity, Experiment, Rent-sharing, Process, Attribution

JEL Classification: A13, B49, C91, J3, J41

Suggested Citation

Charness, Gary and Levine, David Ian, Intention and Stochastic Outcomes: An Experimental Study (December 5, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=437870 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.437870

Gary Charness (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States
805-893-2412 (Phone)
805-893-8830 (Fax)

David Ian Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1697 (Phone)
510-643-1420 (Fax)

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