leaving in resource games, may frame the decision independently of the consequences of the choice. Taking and keeping refer to what one will have oneself, and leaving and giving refer to the collective component.
It may be that the actual decision (take, keep, leave, or give) causes one to focus on a quantity that determines one’s strategy. For instance, in giving in public goods dilemmas, there is a tendency for people with different endowments to give equal proportions of their endowments. Perhaps this is not the result of the public goods dilemmas but rather because people are focusing on what is necessary to meet the criterion rather than what they have left. Likewise, in resource dilemmas, people typically focus on achieving equal final outcomes. Perhaps this is because they are induced to focus on what they get, rather than what they leave. To test this hypothesis, resource and public goods dilemmas were created in which the participants were either focused on what they ended up with (take and keep) or on what they contributed (give and leave). Van Dijk and Wilke (2000) then calculated whether the person seemed more to be trying to achieve proportionality or equal final outcomes. The results indicated that a large part of the difference between the two types of games could be accounted for by decision-induced focusing, by the quantity on which one was induced to focus.
Most of the studies we have discussed in this section directly manipulated the decision frame in one way or another. One study that indirectly manipulated the frame was reported by Tenbrunsel and Messick (1999). This investigation into the effects of economic sanctions on cooperation in a hypothetical pollution decision suggested that economic sanctions, the possibility of being fined for violating an agreement to reduce emissions, had at least two effects on decision makers. First, they may transform what previously had been considered an ethical issue, whether we have a duty to reduce emissions or not, into a business issue, whether it pays to reduce emissions or not. Second, they change the cost/benefit calculation to make cheating less profitable. However, the authors argued that the cost/benefit analysis would be done only for those people who saw the problem as a business problem. If the decision is seen as an ethical one, then the right thing to do is clear—do not cheat.
So if economic sanctions are introduced that are weak, if the fines are small and the probability of detection is remote, the result may be an increase in cheating. The sanctions will induce more people to think of the problem as a business problem and to find, as a result of the cost/benefit analysis, that cheating is profitable. However, if the sanctions are strong, they should have a deterrent effect on cheating, but only for people who frame the decision as a business decision. Cheating should remain rare among people who frame the decision as an ethical one. The results of the experiments reported by Tenbrunsel and Messick (1999) supported these expectations. Cheating was more likely with weak sanctions than with no sanctions, and the sanctions made more people think of the decision as a business decision than an ethical decision. However, when the sanctions were