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Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

No 15/2011:
Immoral criminals? An experimental study of social preferences among prisoners.

Sigbjørn Birkeland (), Alexander W. Cappelen (), Erik Ø. Sørensen () and Bertil Tungodden ()

Abstract: This paper studies the pro-social preferences of criminals by comparing the behavior of a group of prisoners in a lab experiment with the behavior of a benchmark group recruited from the general population. We find a striking similarity in the importance the two groups attach to pro-social preferences in both in strategic and non-strategic situations. This result also holds when the two groups interact. Data from a large internet experiment,matched with official criminal records, suggest that our main finding from the lab experiment is not influenced by the additional scrutiny experienced by participants in prison.

Keywords: Pro-social preferences; Criminals; Lab experiment; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C91; D63; K40; (follow links to similar papers)

31 pages, September 1, 2011

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