December 2019

IZA DP No. 12828: Don't Patronize Me! An Experiment on Preferences for Authorship

Silvia Lübbecke, Wendelin Schnedler

Do people only reject interference and keep control in order to affect the outcome? We find that 20% of subjects reject unrequired help and insist on their solution to a problem – although doing so is costly and does not change the result. We tease out the motives by varying the information available to the interfering party (paternalist). Subjects do not resist to show to the paternalist that they were able to find the correct solution. Instead, two motives seem to play a role. First, subjects prefer to have produced or 'authored' the solution themselves. Second, subjects desire to signal their authorship and hence their independence to the paternalist.