B.E. For Dogs: Reciprocity

B.E. for Dogs is a bi-weekly comic series that will examine concepts in behavioral economics from the perspective of our canine companions. Look out for new comics every other week!

The series is created by Matt TrowerCatherine Berman, and Jamie Foehl.

Reciprocity | Behavioral economics | B.E. for dogs


Reciprocity: Reciprocity refers to the inclination to respond to a gift or positive action by providing something of potentially greater value in return. This is one reason why charities might send us gifts in the mail (and return address labels!) when they reach out for donations or why supermarkets sometimes offer free samples. A sense of indebtedness has been created. One study showed that wait-staff who left a small candy with the bill got more tips than wait-staff who did not leave a candy. So, if you want someone to do something for you, it might be a good idea to pre-empt your request with a favor or gift – perhaps a stick?