Groups and socially responsible production: An experiment with farmers

Does corporate social responsibility decrease when decisions are made by several people instead of an individual entrepreneur? And if so, why? I study these questions in a lab-in-the-field experiment involving 126 Italian farmers. They are asked to choose between an ecological version of a product and non-ecological version that provides them with a profit to use on their farms. To study the effect of collective decision making, I introduce a novel 2×2 design with two experimental variations: (i) the number of people responsible for the decision (one vs three); and (ii) the number of people receiving a payoff from the decision (one vs three). I find that a collective payoff leads to less socially responsible decisions, possibly because it provides participants with the moral wiggle room to behave less socially responsibly. Sharing the responsibility of the decision with others does not change behavior in this setting. I also find that my experimental measure of social responsibility correlates well with measures of social responsibility outside the lab.



Work Title Groups and socially responsible production: An experiment with farmers
Open Access
  1. Martina Vecchi
  1. Social responsibility
  2. Group behavior
  3. Entrepreneurs choices
  4. Lab-in-the-field experiment
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication Date February 25, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited July 25, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Group_and_CSR_-_JEBO_Revision_-_Editor_-_2mv.pdf
  • Added Creator Martina Vecchi
  • Published
  • Updated Work Title, Keyword, Subtitle, and 1 more Show Changes
    Work Title
    • Groups and socially responsible production
    • Groups and socially responsible production: An experiment with farmers
    • Social responsibility, Group behavior, Entrepreneurs choices, Lab-in-the-field experiment
    • An experiment with farmers
    Publication Date
    • 2022-04-01
    • 2022-02-25
  • Deleted Group_and_CSR_-_JEBO_Revision_-_Editor_-_2mv.pdf
  • Added Group_and_CSR_-_JEBO_Revision_-_Editor_-_2mv_Redacted.pdf
  • Updated