HDR Candidate: Kieran Gibson

Milestone: PhD Confirmation

Title: Prosocial Behaviour in Strategic Environments

Time and date: 11am, Monday 17 January 2022

Zoom linkhttps://uqz.zoom.us/j/84129738938


We test the leading models of reciprocity in a new experimental framework that introduces strategic considerations. In an augmented rendition of the classic helping game, participants (referred to as Helpers) are asked to help a Recipient, and this choice is observed by a third-party Observer with either high or low probability (pseudo-private). The Observer is then given the opportunity to help the Helper. We study the strategic response of Helpers to the changing probability of being observed, and the extent to which Observers condition their indirect reciprocity (i.e. reciprocity towards someone who helped someone else) on those strategic incentives. Then, in a further modification to the helping game, Helpers are asked to help two recipients: one necessarily observable, the other in pseudo-private. Afterwards, an observer has the discretion to help the Helper. In this variation, there is now the possibility to directly witness "guile", which we define as prosocial behaviour done in public but not when observation is uncertain. Our preliminary evidence demonstrates guile aversion exists: observers do not necessarily discount prosocial behaviour that is likely strategic, but they do punish demonstrably guileful behaviour. Existing models of reciprocity cannot explain this pattern of indirect reciprocity.


Via Zoom