Prosocial Behavior in Markets

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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What motivates individuals to behave with others in mind? This thesis considers the determinants and consequences of prosocial behavior in markets in different settings, and evaluates ways to reinforce prosociality.
The first empirical chapter studies the peer-to-peer exchange of second-hand books via little free libraries (LFLs). We find that social norms and preferences for cooperation among LFL owners and users limit free-riding behavior. Users return nine books for every ten taken.
The second chapter presents the results from three lab experiments on stepping up against unsustainable conventions. We find that offering individuals pragmatic rather than moral arguments does not alleviate concerns about social costs, and thereby does not help individuals to step up against unsustainable conventions.
The third chapter considers altruistic consumers and their demand for a product offered by a commercial firm that donates part of the sales revenues. In an experimental market setting, we find that tying product sales to donations can raise profits as well as donations, and thereby may benefit both the firm and the charity.
The last chapter presents the results from a field experiment with gas station customers. We find that many overestimate the carbon offset cost of their fuel transaction. Customers show no interest in acquiring information about the true offset cost, and providing this information does not influence offset behavior.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Soetevent, Adriaan, Supervisor
  • Haan, Marco, Supervisor
  • Bolderdijk, Jan Willem, Supervisor
Award date16-Nov-2023
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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