Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2017-06: On Peer Effects: Contagion of Pro- and Anti-Social Behavior and the Role of Social Cohesion


Little is known about the underlying mechanisms of behavioral contagion, in particular with respect to differences in contagion of pro- versus anti-social behavior. Our principal contribution is the use of a novel experimental approach that enables us to analyze the contagion of behavior under varied levels of social distance to peers and differences in contagion of pro- and anti-social behavior. Anti-social behavior is found to be more contagious and social distance particularly drives the contagion of anti-social but not prosocial behavior. The results yield policy implications with regards to designing effective nudges and interventions to facilitate (reduce) pro- (anti-)social behavior, in both social and work environments.

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Eugen Dimant


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Posted on Monday 10th April 2017

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