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Prosocial Behavior and Policy Spillovers: A Multi-Activity Approach

Ek, Claes LU (2015) In Working Paper / Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University
Abstract
Observing that people who wish to engage in prosocial behavior are often presented with more than one means to the same end, we develop a theory in which agents may contribute to a single public good through a range of different activities. Our aim with this extension is twofold. First, we deliver positive results. Noting that effort on one activity has been argued to crowd out ("moral licensing") as well as in ("moral consistency") effort on other activities, we predict that for a large set of plausible cases, policy to facilitate one activity reduces effort on other activities. However, this negative spillover effect is incomplete in the sense that overall public-good production still increases. Second, we revisit prominent results from... (More)
Observing that people who wish to engage in prosocial behavior are often presented with more than one means to the same end, we develop a theory in which agents may contribute to a single public good through a range of different activities. Our aim with this extension is twofold. First, we deliver positive results. Noting that effort on one activity has been argued to crowd out ("moral licensing") as well as in ("moral consistency") effort on other activities, we predict that for a large set of plausible cases, policy to facilitate one activity reduces effort on other activities. However, this negative spillover effect is incomplete in the sense that overall public-good production still increases. Second, we revisit prominent results from single-activity models in the published literature and show that they grow rather more ambiguous, or even fall apart, when they are extended to our multi-activity setting. This is not due to dimensionality per se, but to the fact that single-activity models implicitly assume that agents use narrow mental accounts to categorize activities. By contrast, our model imposes broad accounting. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
public goods, prosocial behavior, moral licensing, self-image
in
Working Paper / Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University
issue
26
pages
33 pages
publisher
Department of Economics, Lund Universtiy
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3e52a837-03a0-480f-9a52-9e26c4695282 (old id 8051634)
alternative location
http://swopec.hhs.se/lunewp/abs/lunewp2015_026.htm
date added to LUP
2015-10-05 11:51:58
date last changed
2016-04-16 10:26:34
@misc{3e52a837-03a0-480f-9a52-9e26c4695282,
  abstract     = {Observing that people who wish to engage in prosocial behavior are often presented with more than one means to the same end, we develop a theory in which agents may contribute to a single public good through a range of different activities. Our aim with this extension is twofold. First, we deliver positive results. Noting that effort on one activity has been argued to crowd out ("moral licensing") as well as in ("moral consistency") effort on other activities, we predict that for a large set of plausible cases, policy to facilitate one activity reduces effort on other activities. However, this negative spillover effect is incomplete in the sense that overall public-good production still increases. Second, we revisit prominent results from single-activity models in the published literature and show that they grow rather more ambiguous, or even fall apart, when they are extended to our multi-activity setting. This is not due to dimensionality per se, but to the fact that single-activity models implicitly assume that agents use narrow mental accounts to categorize activities. By contrast, our model imposes broad accounting.},
  author       = {Ek, Claes},
  keyword      = {public goods,prosocial behavior,moral licensing,self-image},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {26},
  pages        = {33},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x92ca698)},
  series       = {Working Paper / Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University},
  title        = {Prosocial Behavior and Policy Spillovers: A Multi-Activity Approach},
  year         = {2015},
}