Unraveling Fairness in Simple Games? The Role of Empathy and Theory of Mind
AbstractEconomists have been theorizing that other-regarding preferences influence decision making. Yet, what are the corresponding psychological mechanisms that inform these preferences in laboratory games? Empathy and Theory of Mind (ToM) are dispositions considered to be essential in social interaction. We investigate the connection between an individual's preference type and her disposition to engage in empathy and ToM in neutrally framed Dictator and Ultimatum Game. For that purpose, cognitive and emotional psychometric scales are applied to infer the dispositions of each subject. We find that a disposition for empathy does not influence the behavior in the games. ToM positively correlates with offers in the Dictator Game. Integral to ToM are beliefs about others. Both, other-regarding and selfish types, show a strong correlation between what they belief others do and their own action. These results indicate that expectations about the prevalent social norm might be central in informing behavior in one-shot games.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2010-037.
Date of creation: 23 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Altruism; Inequality; Empathy; Theory of Mind; Behavioral Economics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-07-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2010-07-03 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2010-07-03 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2010-07-03 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2010-07-03 (Game Theory)
- NEP-HPE-2010-07-03 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2010-07-03 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2010-07-03 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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