Journal of Business Economics

, Volume 87, Issue 9, pp 1129–1150 | Cite as

On the duty to give (and not to take): An experiment on moralistic punishment

Original Paper
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Abstract

Organizations aim to influence—via their internal guidelines and corporate culture—how unfair treatment of other stakeholders is perceived and condemned by employees. To understand how different frames and forms of publicity influence moralistic punishment, that is, the willingness of employees to take costs in order to foster norm compliance, we employ a modified version of a dictator game. In our dictator game, a bystander observes a dictator’s behavior towards a recipient and can punish the dictator. We vary how the dictator’s action is framed (either as giving money to the recipient or taking money from the recipient) and whether or not the recipient, as a victim of unfair behavior, is informed about the punishment. Our results suggest that bystanders are more likely to punish dictators when their action is framed as giving rather than taking, although both lead to the same consequences. When bystanders cannot inform recipients about their punishment, less punishment can be observed. On average, dictators partially anticipate this effect and behave more generously when recipients are informed about the bystanders’ punishment.

Keywords

Moralistic punishment Compliance Framing Social-image concerns 

JEL Classification

C91 D63 D64 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics GroupWHU - Otto Beisheim School of ManagementVallendarGermany

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