A Cross-Cultural Study of Noblesse Oblige in Economic Decision-Making

Laurence Fiddick, Denise Dellarosa Cummins, Maria Janicki, Sean Lee, Nicole Erlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A cornerstone of economic theory is that rational agents are self-interested, yet a decade of research in experimental economics has shown that economic decisions are frequently driven by concerns for fairness, equity, and reciprocity. One aspect of other-regarding behavior that has garnered attention is noblesse oblige, a social norm that obligates those of higher status to be generous in their dealings with those of lower status. The results of a cross-cultural study are reported in which marked noblesse oblige was observed on a reciprocal-contract decision-making task. Participants from seven countries that vary along hierarchical and individualist/collectivist social dimensions were more tolerant of non-reciprocation when they adopted a high-ranking perspective compared with a low-ranking perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-335
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Nature
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Collectivism
  • Cross-cultural analysis
  • Economic decision-making
  • Individualism
  • Noblesse oblige
  • Power distance
  • Reciprocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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    Fiddick, L., Cummins, D. D., Janicki, M., Lee, S., & Erlich, N. (2013). A Cross-Cultural Study of Noblesse Oblige in Economic Decision-Making. Human Nature, 24(3), 318-335. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-013-9169-9