Accounting for Context: Separating Monetary and (Uncertain) Social Incentives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper proposes a simple framework to model social preferences in a way that explicitly separates economic incentives from social (context) effects and allows for uncertainty also about the latter. Moreover, it allows non-economic cost associated with the deviation from some norm to be more discriminatory than just “right” or “wrong.” We refer to existing evidence on dictator game giving to demonstrate how intermediate behaviours (giving some) as well as payments to change the context (e.g. exiting the game) can be accounted for. Furthermore, the framework is used to exemplify both theoretically and empirically how contextual variables such as social norms can worsen a social dilemma or possibly make it disappear. The empirical results of a classroom experiment suggest that women are more responsive to such contextual effects.


External organisations
  • University of Rostock
  • CESifo Munich
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics


  • social norms, experimental economics, game theory, context effects, efficiency, social preferences, utility, D03, D63, Z10
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

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