Are Victims Truly Worse Off in the Presence of Bystanders? Revisiting the Bystander Effect

Hanna Fromell, Daniele Nosenzo, Trudy Owens, Fabio Tufano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that individuals are less likely to help a person in need when there are "bystanders" present who can also offer help. We designed an experiment to re-examine this "bystander effect" using modified dictator games. We find lower giving rates in the presence of bystanders, confirming the existence of a bystander effect. However, we also show that the recipient's welfare is greater when bystanders are present, challenging the usual interpretation that the bystander effect is due to an erosion of prosocial values and social norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-943
Number of pages17
JournalRevue Economique
Volume70
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2019

Keywords

  • bystander effect
  • bystander dilemma
  • diffusion of responsibility
  • dictator game
  • social norms
  • GROUP-SIZE
  • SOCIAL DISTANCE
  • DICTATOR
  • INTERVENTION
  • ANONYMITY
  • GAMES

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