Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2016:8: Curating Social Image: Experimental Evidence on the Value of Actions and Selfies

Hakan J. Holm () and Margaret Samahita ()
Additional contact information
Hakan J. Holm: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Margaret Samahita: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: We manipulate the information subjects can share on the web concerning socially sensitive actions (public good contribution) and visibility (selfie) to determine the effect on social image, as captured by the price subjects demand for publication. The overall conclusion from the experiment is that theory about social reputation can predict subjects' social-signaling behavior. People take costly decisions to "filter" information about themselves (in retrospect) before it is published. We also report results of a more exploratory nature and find that taking a selfie has a strong negative impact on cooperation among frequent selfie takers, but not on other subjects.

Keywords: social image; selfie; cooperation; signaling

JEL-codes: C90; C91; D80; D82

64 pages, First version: May 5, 2016. Revised: November 14, 2016.

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