Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2018-04: Contagion of Pro- and Anti-Social Behavior Among Peers and the Role of Social Proximity (revised version of 2017-06)


This paper uses a novel experimental design to study the contagion of pro- and antisocial behavior and the role of social proximity among peers. Across systematic variations thereof, we find that anti-social behavior is generally more contagious than pro-social behavior. Surprisingly, we also find that social proximity amplifies the contagion of anti-social behavior more strongly than the contagion of pro-social behavior, and that anti-social individuals are most susceptible to behavioral contagion of other anti-social peers. These findings paired with the methodological contribution are informative for the design of effective norm-based policy interventions directed at facilitating (reducing) pro- (anti-)social behavior in social and economic environments.

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Eugen Dimant


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Posted on Tuesday 5th June 2018

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