Fairness overrides reputation: The importance of fairness considerations in altruistic cooperation

Abstract

Behavioural findings in several strategic games indicate that people punish others if they think they are being treated ‘unfairly’ even at the cost of minimizing their own material payoff. We investigated the primary driving force behind such altruistic cooperation. In Experiment 1, we replicated previous findings indicating that the key mechanism contributing to the emergence of altruistic cooperation is fairness considerations. In Experiment 2, we investigated the effect of the opportunity for reputation building and future interaction on altruistic cooperation and found that these factors become effective only when fairness considerations are removed.


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