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

  • Engel, Christoph
  • Rand, David G.

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 122 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 386-389

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:122:y:2014:i:3:p:386-389
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolet

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  1. 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.
  2. John J. Horton & David G. Rand & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2010. "The Online Laboratory: Conducting Experiments in a Real Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 15961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21, February.
  5. Jonathan Schulz & Urs Fischbacher & Christian Th�ni & Verena Utikal, 2011. "Affect and Fairness," TWI Research Paper Series 68, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  6. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gächter, Simon & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike, 2011. "The framing of games and the psychology of play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 459-478.
  7. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Mollerstrom, Johanna & Munkhammar, Sara, 2012. "Social framing effects: Preferences or beliefs?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 117-130.
  8. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
  9. Roch, Sylvia G. & Lane, John A. S. & Samuelson, Charles D. & Allison, Scott T. & Dent, Jennifer L., 2000. "Cognitive Load and the Equality Heuristic: A Two-Stage Model of Resource Overconsumption in Small Groups," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 185-212, November.
  10. Park, Eun-Soo, 2000. "Warm-glow versus cold-prickle: a further experimental study of framing effects on free-riding," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 405-421, December.
  11. R. Cookson, 2000. "Framing Effects in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 55-79, June.
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