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Give and Take in Dictator Games

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Author Info

  • Cappelen, Alexander W.

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Nielsen, Ulrik H.

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Sørensen, Erik Ø.

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Tungodden, Bertil

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

    (University of Vienna)

Abstract

It has been shown that participants in the dictator game are less willing to give money to the other participant when their choice set also includes the option to take money. We examine whether this effect is due to the choice set providing a signal about entitlements in a setting where entitlements initially may be considered unclear. We find that the share of positive transfers depends on the choice set even when there is no uncertainty about entitlements, and that this choice-set effect is robust across a heterogenous group of participants recruited from the general adult population in Denmark. The findings are consistent with dictator giving partly being motivated by a desire to signal that one is not entirely selfish or by a desire to follow a social norm that is choice-set dependent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 14/2012.

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Length: 9 pages
Date of creation: 06 Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2012_014

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Keywords: Dictator game; motivation; choice;

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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. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri D. Hole & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2005. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1611, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  5. Alexander W. Cappelen & James Konow & Erik ?. S?rensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2013. "Just Luck: An Experimental Study of Risk-Taking and Fairness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1398-1413, June.
  6. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  7. James Andreoni & B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1607-1636, 09.
  8. 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.
  9. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Alevy, Jonathan E. & Jeffries, Francis L. & Lu, Yonggang, 2014. "Gender- and frame-specific audience effects in dictator games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 50-54.

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