Replication data: Generosity is a sign of trustworthiness – the punishment of selfishness is not

Resource Type
  • Przepiorka, Wojtek (Utrecht University)
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Person, Personality, Role
    • Group
    • Political Attitudes and Behavior
  • Abstract

    Peer-punishment is an important determinant of cooperation in human groups. It has been suggested that, at the proximate level of analysis, punitive preferences can explain why humans incur costs to punish their deviant peers. How punitive preferences could have evolved in humans is still not entirely understood. A possible explanation at the ultimate level of analysis comes from signaling theory. It has been argued that the punishment of defectors can be a type-separating signal of the punisher's cooperative intent. As a result, punishers are selected more often as interaction partners in social exchange and are partly compensated for the costs they incur when punishing defectors. A similar argument has been made with regard to acts of generosity. In a laboratory experiment, we investigate whether the punishment of a selfish division of money in a dictator game is a sign of trustworthiness and whether punishers are more trustworthy interaction partners in a trust game than non-punishers. We distinguish between second-party and third-party punishment and compare punitive acts with acts of generosity as signs of trustworthiness. We find that punishers are not more trustworthy than non-punishers and that punishers are not trusted more than non-punishers, both in the second-party and in the third-party punishment condition. To the contrary, second-party punishers are trusted less than their non-punishing counterparts. However, participants who choose a generous division of money are more trustworthy and are trusted more than participants who choose a selfish division or participants about whom no information is available. Our results suggest that, unlike for punitive acts, the signaling benefits of generosity are to be gained in social exchange.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2014-03-25 / 2014-03-27
Geographic Coverage
  • Switzerland / CH
Sampled Universe
In total, 186 subjects participated in our computerized laboratory experiment. Subjects were students from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, 51% were female and they were 23.6 years old on average (sd = 6.71).
All participants in our experiment were recruited from the subject pool maintained by the University Registration Center for Study Participants (UAST) of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. A random sample of participants was drawn from this subject pool and people included in this sample were invited via e-mail to participate in the experiment.
Collection Mode
    • Laboratory experiment
Data and File Information
    • File Name: przepiorka_liebe_2016_ehb_data.csv
      File Format: application/octet-stream
      File Size: 16415
      Data Fingerprint: d45485cb0771dc1adae3486c3fa1d1ef
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name: przepiorka_liebe_2016_ehb_variable_labels.txt
      File Format: text/plain
      File Size: 2181
      Data Fingerprint: 748ce7868ef90267785bcfbb1c5b8705
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
    • File Name:
      File Format: text/x-stata-syntax
      File Size: 18273
      Data Fingerprint: da9ca2b44a771f9179a21a86c97e72e6
      Method Fingerprint: MD5
Source: z-Tree, version 3.3.11
Free Access (without Registration)
  • Przepiorka, Wojtek and Ulf Liebe. 2016. "Generosity is a sign of trustworthiness – the punishment of selfishness is not." Evolution and Human Behavior 37(4):255-262.;10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.12.003

Update Metadata: 2019-09-30 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2019-08-30