Giulia Bocca, Sara Romanò, Davide Barrera

How to Stimulate Prosocial Behavior: an Experiment on the Effects of Frames and Incentives

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Prosocial Behaviors; Social Norms; Frames; Incentives; Social Experiments

While the study of cooperation has a long tradition in the social sciences, the current emergency caused by the SARS-COVID19 pandemics has made it even more important to understand cooperation, because the efficacy of the measures enacted to stop the diffusion of the virus rests on the ability to obtain large-scale cooperation (implementing behaviours which are costly for individuals, although they are necessary for collectivity). This study analyzes factors that influence prosocial behavior, focusing on the role of frames, meant as mental models that emerge in given circumstances leading individuals to define the situation in which they have to make their decisions (Kroneberg 2014) and how different incentives – monetary and non-monetary – affect the decision process. The results show that the exposure to elements that stimulate subjects to think about prosocial norms can influence individual behavior in the direction that is consistent with the norm elicited. Furthermore, the individual behavior does not differ significantly according to the incentive adopted, even though we register situations in which the incentive adopted could contribute to social norms salience, increasing cooperation levels.

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