Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Playing the victim behavior: an experimental study

Akin, Zafer (2022): Playing the victim behavior: an experimental study.

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This paper experimentally explores playing the victim behavior, how prevalent it is, its determinants, and potential mechanisms to mitigate it with a subject pool from two regions (UAE and North America). The possibility of playing the victim is introduced by letting some participants receive a negative shock to their initial endowments, after which they can apply for extra compensation even when they do not receive the shock. We find that the majority of participants play the victim. We then test whether defaults and signing an honesty oath influence this behavior. We find, contrary to intuitions, that the omission treatments, where lying is a default, failed to increase misrepresentation, and if anything decreased it, while the oath substantially reduced it as expected. Moreover, the extent of pro-sociality and perceived social norms are found to be strongly related to playing the victim behavior. The findings are very similar across regions. Our findings offer some insights to design better policies to support victims, especially during crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

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