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The relevance of irrelevant information in the dictator game

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  • Abhijit Ramalingam

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of East Anglia)

Abstract

We examine the sensitivity of the dictator game to information provided to subjects. We investigate if individuals internalize completely irrelevant information about players when making allocation decisions. Subjects are provided with their score and the scores of recipients on a quiz prior to making decisions in multiple dictator games. Quiz scores have no bearing on the game or on players' endowments and hence represent extraneous information. We find that dictators reward good performance on the quiz. We find that information that is irrelevant for the game might nevertheless be relevant for choices. Our results highlight the extreme sensitivity of the dictator game to information and context.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2012/Volume32/EB-12-V32-I1-P69.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 32 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 746-754

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-12-00140

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Keywords: dictator game; experiment; irrelevant information; context;

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  1. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2006. "Poverty in dictator games: Awakening solidarity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 306-320, July.
  2. Ruffle, Bradley J., 1998. "More Is Better, But Fair Is Fair: Tipping in Dictator and Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 247-265, May.
  3. Oxoby, Robert J. & Spraggon, John, 2008. "Mine and yours: Property rights in dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 703-713, March.
  4. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
  5. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  6. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
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