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The Role of Role Uncertainty in Modified Dictator Games

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  • Nagore Iriberri
  • Pedro Rey-Biel

Abstract

We compare behavior in modified dictator games with and without role uncertainty. Subjects choose between a selfish action, a costly surplus creating action (altruistic behavior) and a costly surplus destroying action (spiteful behavior). While costly surplus creating actions are most frequent under role uncertainty (64%), selfish actions become most frequent without role uncertainty (69%). Also, the frequency of surplus destroying choices is negligible with role uncertainty (1%) but not so without it (11%). A classification of subjects into four different types of interdependent preferences (Selfish, Social Welfare maximizing, Inequity Averse and Competitive) shows that the use of role uncertainty overestimates the prevalence of Social Welfare maximizing preferences in the subject population (from 74% with role uncertainty to 21% without it) and underestimates Selfish and Inequity Averse preferences. Our results warn against the use of role uncertainty in experiments that aim to measure the prevalence of interdependent preferences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 406.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:406

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Keywords: role uncertainty; role reversal; interdependent preferences; social welfare maximizing; inequity aversion; mixture-of-types models; strategy method; experiments;

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  1. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
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  10. Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2009. "Elicited Beliefs and Social Information in Modified Dictator Games: What Do Dictators Believe Other Dictators Do?," Working Papers 405, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Rigdon, Mary L. & Levine, Adam Seth, 2009. "The Role of Expectations and Gender in Altruism," MPRA Paper 19372, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2012. "‘Hiding behind a small cake’ in a newspaper dictator game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 82-85.
  3. Astrid Dannenberg & Thomas Riechmann & Bodo Sturm & Carsten Vogt, 2012. "Inequality aversion and the house money effect," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 460-484, September.
  4. Pedro Rey-Biel & Roman Sheremeta & Neslihan Uler, 2011. "(Bad) Luck or (Lack of) Effort?: Comparing Social Sharing Norms between US and Europe," Working Papers 584, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
  6. Levati, M. Vittoria & Nicholas, Aaron & Rai, Birendra, 2014. "Testing the single-peakedness of other-regarding preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 197-209.
  7. Mitesh Kataria & Natalia Montinari, 2012. "Risk, Entitlements and Fairness Bias: Explaining Preferences for Redistribution in Multi-person Setting," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-061, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  8. Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2008. "Elicited beliefs and social information in modified dictator games: What do dictators believe other dictators do?," Economics Working Papers 1137, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2009.

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