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What does “clean” really mean? The implicit framing of decontextualized experiments

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  • Engel, Christoph
  • Rand, David G.

Abstract

It is standard in experimental economics to use decontextualized designs where payoff structures are presented using neutral language. Here we show that cooperation in such a neutrally framed Prisoner’s Dilemma is equivalent to a PD framed as contributing to a cooperative endeavour. Conversely, there is substantially less cooperation in a PD framed as a competition. We conclude that in a decontextualized context, our participants by default project a cooperative frame onto the payoff structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Engel, Christoph & Rand, David G., 2014. "What does “clean” really mean? The implicit framing of decontextualized experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 386-389.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:122:y:2014:i:3:p:386-389
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.12.020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Tamas Bereczkei & Zsolt Peter Szabo & Andrea Czibor, 2015. "Abusing Good Intentions," SAGE Open, , vol. 5(2), pages 21582440155, June.
    3. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele & Spitzer, Florian & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Medical insurance and free choice of physician shape patient overtreatment: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 78-105.
    4. Eirik Strømland & Sigve Tjøtta & Gaute Torsvik, 2016. "Cooperating, Fast and Slow: Testing the Social Heuristics Hypothesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 5875, CESifo.
    5. Bartke, Simon & Bosworth, Steven J. & Snower, Dennis & Chierchia, Gabriele, 2016. "The influence of induced care and anger motives on behavior, beliefs and perceptions in a public goods game," Kiel Working Papers 2054, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Sebastian J. Goerg & David Rand & Gari Walkowitz, 2020. "Framing effects in the prisoner’s dilemma but not in the dictator game," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-12, June.
    7. Christoph Engel, 2015. "Tacit Collusion: The Neglected Experimental Evidence," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 12(3), pages 537-577, September.
    8. Jorrat, Diego, 2021. "Recruiting experimental subjects using WhatsApp," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    9. Peter Duersch & Julia Müller, 2017. "Bidding for nothing? The pitfalls of overly neutral framing," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(13), pages 932-935, July.
    10. Fiedler, Susann & Hillenbrand, Adrian, 2020. "Gain-loss framing in interdependent choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 232-251.
    11. Alekseev, Aleksandr & Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2017. "Experimental methods: When and why contextual instructions are important," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 48-59.
    12. Jeremy Cone & David G Rand, 2014. "Time Pressure Increases Cooperation in Competitively Framed Social Dilemmas," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 9(12), pages 1-13, December.
    13. Valerio Capraro & David G. Rand, 2018. "Do the Right Thing: Experimental evidence that preferences for moral behavior, rather than equity or efficiency per se, drive human prosociality," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 13(1), pages 99-111, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cooperation; Framing; Social dilemmas; Social preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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