ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

Repugnant Transactions: On the Role of Agency and Extreme Consequences

Friday, October 22, 2021 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Online Location, Zoom Meeting

ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Fall 2021 semester will feature:

Dorothea Kübler

WZB Berlin Social Science Research Center and Technical University of Berlin

Repugnant Transactions: On the Role of Agency and Extreme Consequences

 

Please contact ICES Office Manager (sbahabib@gmu.edu) for Zoom link.

 

Abstract

Some transactions are restricted or prohibited, although people may want to engage in them (e.g., the sale of human organs, surrogacy, and prostitution). It is not well understood what causes the judgement of repugnance. We study two potential reasons: lack of agency of the parties and extreme consequences of the transaction. Limited agency arises, e.g., when one party cannot decide freely because she is not able to reject the transaction offered, a third person who profits from the transaction takes the decision on her behalf, or she is forced to proceed with the transaction due to social pressure. In a laboratory experiment, we ask spectators whether they want to prohibit a transaction or not. We find that transactions with extreme outcomes (listening to a painful tone) are more frequently prohibited than those with mild outcomes (waiting in the laboratory). We also show that lack of agency and extreme outcomes reinforce each other, since the combination of both properties leads to prohibition rates of up to 80 percent.

 

For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.

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