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Other people’s money: the role of reciprocity and social uncertainty in decisions for others

Vlaev, Ivo, Wallace, Brian, Wright, Nicholas, Nicolle, Antoinette, Dolan, Paul and Dolan, Raymond (2017) Other people’s money: the role of reciprocity and social uncertainty in decisions for others. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 10 (2-3). pp. 59-80. ISSN 1937-321X

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Identification Number: 10.1037/npe0000063


Many important decisions are taken not by the person who will ultimately gain or lose from the outcome, but on their behalf, by somebody else. We examined economic decision-making about risk and time in situations in which deciders chose for others who also chose for them. We propose that this unique setting, which has not been studied before, elicits perception of reciprocity that prompts a unique bias in preferences. We found that decision-makers are less patient (more discounting), and more risk averse for losses than gains, with other peoples’ money, especially when their choices for others are more uncertain. Those results were derived by exploiting a computational modeling framework that has been shown to account for the underlying psychological and neural decision processes. We propose a novel theoretical mechanism—precautionary preferences under social uncertainty, which explains the findings. Implications for future research and alternative models are also discusse

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors © CC BY 3.0
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 11:58
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 03:58
Projects: 098362/Z/12/Z, 091593/Z/10/Z
Funders: Wellcome Trust

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