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Scale manipulation in dictator games

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  • Ockenfels, Axel
  • Werner, Peter

Abstract

We let subjects estimate behavior and expectations of others before they play dictator games, and only vary the quantitative scales for their estimates. Our data show that this manipulation may significantly affect economic decisions: dictators who are presented a scale with a higher midpoint transfer on average more than dictators who are presented a scale with a lower midpoint. The effect is stronger and significant in a treatment where dictators are asked to guess the average transfer expected by the recipients, compared to a treatment where they are asked to guess average transfers. Our experiment suggests that scale manipulation can be used in laboratory social interaction to systematically affect specific beliefs and to study their causal effects on behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2014. "Scale manipulation in dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 138-142.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:97:y:2014:i:c:p:138-142
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.11.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Riccardo Ghidoni & Matteo Ploner, 2014. "When do the Expectations of Others Matter? An Experiment on Distributional Justice and Guilt Aversion," CEEL Working Papers 1403, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    2. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    3. Giuseppe Attanasi & Claire Rimbaud & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Embezzlement and Guilt Aversion," Working Papers 1807, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    4. Schier, Uta K. & Ockenfels, Axel & Hofmann, Wilhelm, 2016. "Moral values and increasing stakes in a dictator game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 107-115.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; Scale manipulation; Norms;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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