The Dynamics of Pro-social Behavior in an Asymmetric Social Dilemma: A Behavioral Game-Theoretic Approach

Vogt, Sonja; Raub, Werner; Weesie, Jeroen; Buskens, Vincent (2011). The Dynamics of Pro-social Behavior in an Asymmetric Social Dilemma: A Behavioral Game-Theoretic Approach. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 40(5), pp. 338-355. Lucius & Lucius 10.1515/zfsoz-2011-0502

3079-3346-1-PB.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (176kB) | Preview

This contribution examines pro-social behavior in social support relations. Such relations are modeled as an asymmetric and repeated social dilemma game in which two actors can provide support for each other. We allow for asymmetry in three dimensions: (1) benefits from receiving support, (2) costs of providing support, and (3) the likelihood of needing support. Theoretically and empirically, we analyze the effects of asymmetry on the dynamics of support. We assume that the costs of providing and the benefits of receiving support as well as the likelihood of needing support affect an actor's willingness to provide support. Using a behavioral game theory approach, we contribute to theory formation by developing a simple adaptive model for explaining behavior in support relations. More precisely, we offer two variants of such an adaptive model. One variant is inspired by social psychology and implements assumptions from equity theory. The other variant is inspired by bargaining theory and uses the Kalai-Smorodinsky bargaining solution. Our model is robust in the sense that both variants lead to similar predictions. Data from laboratory experiments confirm these predictions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Vogt, Sonja Brigitte


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Lucius & Lucius




Simona Richard

Date Deposited:

06 Aug 2019 15:26

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 18:49

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback