Is Prosocial Behaviour Contagious On Social Media Platforms?
A Gift Giving Intervention in an Online Gift Exchange System
The study of social inﬂuence mechanisms in the ﬁeld will be central to explore their relevance for human cooperation and possibilities to design context speciﬁc instruments targeting overall welfare while bridging between theory, lab ﬁndings and concrete applicable approaches. This ﬁeld experiment addresses these aspects by investigating the contagion of prosocial behaviour in a transparent online environment and estimating the impact of a gift giving intervention on strangers. Employing a simple diﬀerence in diﬀerences method, two online gift exchange systems are observed as treatment (Aachen, Germany) and control group (Duisburg, Germany) over a two month period. Thus group members are observed in a natural environment while being unaware of the experiment taking place. Behavioural predictions are based on an integrative model for social contagion which describes structure and social inﬂuences of information-ﬂows generated by group activity. Since moderating factors are key for social contagiousness a qualitative analysis of the online environment and proxy data on individual attributes supplement the analysis and provide a framework to put ﬁndings into perspective. Interestingly and in contrast to previous ﬁndings no support for contagious prosocial behaviour is found even after controlling for behavioural dynamics. Implications for future ﬁeld and lab experiments are discussed alongside several design issues of this pilot study
|Keywords||Social intervention, Social contagion, Social inﬂuence, Cooperative behaviour, Upstream reciprocity, Third-party inﬂuence, Online networks|
|Thesis Advisor||JTR Stoop|
W Schuchardt5. (2020, July 28). Is Prosocial Behaviour Contagious On Social Media Platforms?. Economics. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/52228