The effects of induced emotions on pro-social behaviour

Michalis Drouvelis, Brit Grosskopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
352 Downloads (Pure)


Emotions are commonly experienced and expressed in human societies; however, their consequences on economic behaviour have received only limited attention. This paper investigates the effects of induced positive and negative emotions on cooperation and sanctioning behaviour in a one-shot voluntary contributions mechanism game, where personal and social interests are at odds. We concentrate on two specific emotions: anger and happiness. Our findings provide clear evidence that measures of social preferences are sensitive to subjects’ current emotional states. Specifically, angry subjects contribute, on average, less than happy subjects and overall welfare as measured by average net earnings is lower when subjects are in an angry mood. We also find that how punishment is used is affected by moods: angry subjects punish harsher than happy subjects, ceteris paribus. These findings suggest that anger, when induced, can have a negative impact on economic behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Early online date4 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Induced emotions
  • anger
  • happiness
  • contribution
  • punishment
  • public goods experiments


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