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They Come to Play: Supply Effects in an Economic Experiment

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Author Info

  • Jeffrey Carpenter

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  • Allison Liati

    ()

  • Brian Vickery

    ()

Abstract

Our experiment challenges the standard, social preference, interpretation of choices in the double blind dictator game. In our bilateral treatment both groups are endowed with $20, any fraction of which can be passed to a randomly determined player in the other group. Because both groups have $20 to start, neither inequality aversion nor altruism should motivate people to give. Despite this, the allocations in this treatment are identical to our replication of the standard double blind game implying that altruism might be the wrong interpretation of giving. Instead, we hypothesize that giving might be driven by participants coming to the lab ready “to play.” The fact that there is a strong correlation between participant responses to an attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder questionnaire and both the rate and level of giving provides direct support for this hypothesis. We also show that having players earn their endowments attenuates the bias.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0602.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0602.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0602

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Keywords: experiment; social preference; altruism; dictator game; impulsivity; demand effect;

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  1. 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.
  2. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  3. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, 2008. "Do people behave in experiments as in the field?—evidence from donations," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 268-281, September.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Third-party punishment and social norms," Experimental 0409002, EconWPA.
  5. Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2012. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 555-572, 05.
  6. Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman, 1999. "Reciprocity in a Two Part Dictator Game," Working Papers 99-28, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  10. 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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Cited by:
  1. Ottone, Stefania & Ortona, Guido & Ponzano, Ferruccio & Scacciati, Francesco, 2010. "Some differences in revealed behaviour under different inquiry methods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 546-553, October.
  2. Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2011. "Relative Earnings and Giving in a Real-Effort Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3330-48, December.
  3. Ortona, Guido & Ottone, Stefania & Ponzano, Ferruccio & Scacciati, Francesco, 2006. "Labour supply in presence of taxation financing public services. An experimental approach," POLIS Working Papers 71, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  4. Sebastian Kube & Clemens Puppe, 2009. "(When and how) do voters try to manipulate?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 39-52, April.

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