What Drives Destruction? On the Malleability of Anti-Social Behavior

Julia Müller, Christiane Schwieren, Florian Spitzer

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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Abstract

Many recent experimental studies have shown that some subjects destroy other subjects' incomes without receiving any material benefit, and that they even incur costs to do so. In this paper, we study the boundary conditions of this phenomenon, which is referred to as anti-social behavior. We introduce a four-player destruction game, in which we vary the framing and the presence of another activity, running in parallel to the destruction game. We observe a substantial amount of destruction in the baseline condition without the parallel activity, and with a framing in the spirit of previous destruction experiments. Our results indicate that a parallel activity as well as a framing emphasizing joint ownership of the item that can be destroyed reduces destruction almost to zero. We therefore argue that the emergence of anti-social behavior is highly contingent on the contextual environment.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Publication series

NameDepartment of Economics Working Paper Series
No.238

WU Working Paper Series

  • Department of Economics Working Paper Series

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