Reciprocating to Strategic Kindness



This article examines how people reciprocate to a helpful action that is potentially motivated by strategic considerations. Experimental results show that the degree of positive reciprocity second-movers display towards the same helpful action is lower when the degree of strategic incentives the first-mover has for taking that action are stronger. Moreover, the decline in the degree of positive reciprocity is associated with the deterioration of the degree of altruism inferred regarding the helpful first-movers. These results imply that perceived motives, in addition to outcomes and perceived intentions, play an important role in shaping reciprocal responses.