fbpx Following Situation-Specific Social Expectations: Laboratory Evidence on Pro-Social Following | Harvard Kennedy School

Additional Authors:

  • Michael Hiscox


December 30, 2019, Paper, "We design an experiment where second-movers anonymously contribute to a charity after a first mover’s contribution, and provide evidence that whether and how subjects follow first-movers depends on situation-specific social expectations. Subjects who observe a first-mover and know an audience will see their anonymous contribution respond positively to what their first-mover contributes. Subjects who observe a first-mover but have no audience respond positively what first-movers are expected to contribute. Subjects who do not observe a first-mover respond to what is expected in their situation. The evidence is inconsistent with standard explanations of following, such as information transmission, image concerns, reciprocity, or cost structure. We conclude that subjects follow if it is expected of them, and what they follow depends on whether someone might be disappointed with the outcome."

Non-HKS Author Website - Michael Hiscox