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Data Set Description

Psychologists claim that being treated kindly puts individuals in a positive emotional state: they then treat an unrelated third party more kindly. Numerous experiments document that subjects indeed ‘pay forward’ specific behavior. For example, they are less generous after having experienced stinginess. This, however, is not necessarily driven by emotions. Subjects may also imitate what they regard as socially adequate behavior. Here, I present an experiment in which imitation is not possible at the next opportunity to act with a stranger: after being given either a fun or an annoying job, subjects have to decide whether to be generous or not. I find that although subjects who are given the annoying job report more negative emotions than those with the fun job, they do not treat an unrelated third person more unkindly in terms of passing on less money.

The objective of the study was to see whether people donate less money to an uninvolved bystander after having been assigned an annoying job (encryptor=1) rather than a fun job (encryptor=0). As a manipulation check, Happiness is recorded at various moments during the experiment using a Manikin-scale.
Measurement Instruments:
Subjects gave answers via a computer interface in a laboratory. Donation choices were paid out accordingly.
Data Collection Method:
Data Collection in the presence of an experimenter
- Group Administration
- Computer-Supported

Selection Method:

Convenience sample of the following population: young adults between 18 and 35, mostly students and employees of Paderborn University

Subject recruitment:Pool of the „Business and Economic Research Laboratory“; regular recruitment campaigns with flyers and during lectures

Gender distribution: 32% male
Age Distribution: 18-35 years

Sample Size: 205 individuals

Experimental sessions took place on the 3rd and 10th of May 2017, sessions took place at 9:00 (session=1), 11:00 (session=2), 13:00 (session=3) and 14:30 (session=4); session 3 on 3rd of May had to be cancelled due to technical problems

Date Created: 2022-08-29

Scope of Data Set


Time Periods: May 2017


Schnedler W. (2022). The broken chain: Evidence against emotionally driven upstream indirect reciprocity. Games and Economic Behavior. 136:542-558. doi:10.1016/j.geb.2022.10.008

Key reference

Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). The Broken Chain: Evidence Against Emotionally Driven Upstream Indirect Reciprocity. Research Data Center of IZA (IDSC).

Researchers working with the “The Broken Chain: Evidence Against Emotionally Driven Upstream Indirect Reciprocity” experiment data are obligated to acknowledge the data base and its documentation within their publications, including the DOI, by using this reference.



Restricted Access

  1. Schnedler, Wendelin
  1. Stephan, Nina
Contract Number(s):
  1. Basic funding for university chairs in North-Rhine-Westphalia

Laboratory Experiment
Experimental Design


Laboratory experiment


Access to the data is provided to non-for-profit research, replication and teaching purposes. The data is available from the Research Data Center of IZA (IDSC).
Please contact IDSC for any access requests.