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Moral distance in dictator games

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Author Info

  • Fernando Aguiar
  • Pablo Bra�as-Garza
  • Luis M. Miller

Abstract

We perform an experimental investigation using a dictator game in which individuals must make a moral decision --- to give or not to give an amount of money to poor people in the Third World. A questionnaire in which the subjects are asked about the reasons for their decision shows that, at least in this case, moral motivations carry a heavy weight in the decision:\ the majority of dictators give the money for reasons of a consequentialist nature. Based on the results presented here and of other analogous experiments, we conclude that dicator behavior can be understood in terms of moral distance rather than social distance and that it systematically deviates from the egoism assumption in economic models and game theory. %\textit{JEL}: A13, C72, C91

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
Issue (Month): (April)
Pages: 344-354

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Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:3:y:2008:i::p:344-354

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Keywords: dictator game; moral distance; moral motivations; experimental economics.;

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References

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  1. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  2. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
  3. Pablo Brañas Garza, 2003. "Poverty in Dictator Games: Awakening Solidarity," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2003/50, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Iris Bohnet, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 335-339, March.
  5. Ruffle, Bradley J., 1998. "More Is Better, But Fair Is Fair: Tipping in Dictator and Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 247-265, May.
  6. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
  7. Norman Frohlich & Joe Oppenheimer & Anja Kurki, 2004. "Modeling Other-Regarding Preferences and an Experimental Test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 91-117, 04.
  8. Burnham, Terence C., 2003. "Engineering altruism: a theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-144, January.
  9. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-60, June.
  10. Frohlich, Norman & Oppenheimer, Joe & Bernard Moore, J., 2001. "Some doubts about measuring self-interest using dictator experiments: the costs of anonymity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 271-290, November.
  11. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  12. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
  13. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fernando Aguiar & Pablo Branas-Garza & Maria Paz Espinosa & Luis Miller, 2010. "Personal identity: a theoretical and experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 261-275.
  2. Jade Wong & Andreas Ortman, 2013. "Do Donors Care About the Price of Giving? A Review of the Evidence, with Some Theory to Organize It," Discussion Papers 2013-22, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  3. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Juan C. Cárdenas & Máximo Rossi, 2009. "Gender, education and reciprocal generosity: Evidence from 1,500 experiment subjects," Working Papers 128, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  4. Fong, Christina M. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2011. "Do fairness and race matter in generosity? Evidence from a nationally representative charity experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 372-394.
  5. Anastasios Koukoumelis & M. Vittoria Levati & Matteo Ploner, 2013. "The effect of identifiability on the relationship between risk attitudes and other-regarding concerns," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-028, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  6. Mueller, Ulrike, 2012. "Pro-poor Service Delivery and Social Identity: An Experimental Investigation," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Franzen, Axel & Pointner, Sonja, 2012. "Anonymity in the dictator game revisited," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 74-81.
  8. Daniel John Zizzo, 2011. "Do dictator games measure altruism?," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 12-03, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  9. Ismael Rodriguez-Lara & Pablo Brañas-Garza, 2012. "Expected Behavior and Strategic Sophistication in the Dictator Game," Discussion Papers in Economic Behaviour 0412, University of Valencia, ERI-CES.

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