Accountability and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas: The Influence of Others' Reputational Concerns

  • De Cremer D
  • Bakker M
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Abstract

The present study examined the assumption that non-anonymous choices in social dilemmas (i.e., choices for which one is accountable) may influence cooperation, but only to the extent that decision-makers believe that the others will evaluate noncooperation negatively. Based on a recent review by Kerr (1999), it was expected that under conditions of accountability, decision-makers would cooperate more when they believed that the others within the group were also concerned about their social reputation and therefore were aware of the social norm of cooperation within social dilemmas. As a consequence, it could be expected that non-cooperation by oneself would be evaluated negatively by those others since they seemed to be aware of what ought to be done in a social dilemma (i.e., the norm of cooperation). Results confirmed these predictions and, in addition, also showed that greater willingness to cooperate was associated with stronger feelings of collective concern. The findings are discussed in terms of recent literature on anonymity effects in social dilemmas.

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Authors

  • David De Cremer

  • Müriel Bakker

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