Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2017-15: Are Victims Truly Worse Off in the Presence of Bystanders? Revisiting the Bystander Effect


Previous studies have shown that individuals are less likely to help a person in need when there are “bystanders” present who can also offer help. We designed an experiment to re-examine this “bystander effect” using modified dictator games. We find lower giving rates in the presence of bystanders, confirming the existence of a bystander effect. However, we also show that the recipient’s welfare is greater when bystanders are present, challenging the usual interpretation that the bystander effect is due to an erosion of prosocial values.

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Hanna Fromell, Daniele Nosenzo, Trudy Owens and Fabio Tufano


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Posted on Friday 15th December 2017

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