The present research examines whether or not endowment asymmetry leads those with many endowments to contribute more than those with few endowments towards the public good (i.e., a first-order dilemma), but also towards the implementation of a sanctioning system (i.e., a second-order dilemma). In Experiment 1, we found that those with many endowments contributed more than those with few endowments in a public good dilemma without a sanctioning system present, whereas those with many endowments did not contribute more than those with few endowments toward the implementation of a sanctioning system. The latter effect, however, was eliminated when participants were accountable (i.e., when expectations that they would have to justify their decisions to others in the group were high). Experiment 2 showed that when participants were accountable, the contributions of those with many endowments (and not those with few endowments) toward the sanctioning system increased, but only when they perceived the group to be more self-evaluative in terms of morality (i.e., high-evaluation expectancy). Experiment 3 showed that this effect of evaluation expectancy only emerged when participants were accountable to the whole group rather than to only one group member.

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Keywords accountability, egocentric concerns, noblesse oblige, public good dilemmas, sanctions, social dilemmas
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de Cremer, D., & van Dijk, E.. (2009). Paying for sanctions in social dilemmas: The effects of endowment asymmetry and accountability. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 109(1), 45–55. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2009.01.004