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Altruism or Artefact? A Note on Dictator Game Giving

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  • Nicholas Bardsley

    ()
    (CeDEx, Nottingham School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

Abstract

Experimental dictator games have been used to explore unselfish behaviour. Evidence is presented here, however, that subjects’ generosity can be reversed by allowing them to take money from a partner. Dictator game giving therefore does not stem from orthodox social preferences. It can be interpreted plausibly as an artefact of experimentation. Alternatively the evaluation of an action depends on the composition of the choice set. Implications of these possibilities are explored for experimental methodology and charitable donations respectively. The artefact interpretation is empirically superior, and implies that researchers should investigate demand characteristics of experimental protocols.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2005-10.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2005-10

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Postal: School of Economics University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD
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Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/cedex/
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Keywords: altruism; artificiality; experiments; methodology;

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Cited by:
  1. Khan, Hayat, 2009. "Modeling Social Preferences: A Generalized Model of Inequity Aversion," MPRA Paper 14701, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Apr 2009.
  2. Stanton, Angela A., 2006. "Evolving Economics: Synthesis," MPRA Paper 767, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Nov 2006.
  3. Robin Cubitt & Michalis Drouvelis & Simon Gächter, 2011. "Framing and free riding: emotional responses and punishment in social dilemma games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 254-272, May.
  4. Stahl, Dale O. & Haruvy, Ernan, 2008. "Subgame perfection in ultimatum bargaining trees," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 292-307, May.
  5. Rode, Julian & Le Menestrel, Marc, 2011. "The influence of decision power on distributive fairness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 246-255, August.

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