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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Responsibility in Strategic Risk-Taking


We explore play between groups where one member of each 2-person group dictates the play of that group and is therefore responsible for the payoff of the other group member. We compare this to play when the game is the same, but each person is playing only for herself. Consistent with the principle of responsibility-alleviation described in Charness (2000), we find that a sense of responsibility for the welfare of others has an effect. While the issue of responsibility does not appear to influence the decisions of 2/3 of the population, almost 90 percent of the remaining 1/3 of the population plays a less risky strategy when choosing for a group than when playing only for herself.

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