IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Does generosity generate generosity? An experimental study of reputation effects in a dictator game

  • Servátka, Maros

Previous experimental literature on reputation studies its effects in environments where they are often confounded with strategic behavior. This paper explores how information about the paired subject's previous action affects one's own behavior in a non-strategic environment of a dictator game. The experiment consists of two treatments in which dictators can give money to the paired player: one where the recipient is a stranger and the other where the dictator has information on the recipient's reputation. The data provide evidence that on average the dictators send more money to recipients with a reputation for being generous than to recipients with no reputation. The results contribute to our understanding of how impulses towards generous (or selfish) behavior might arise.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 11-17

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:39:y:2010:i:1:p:11-17
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Dirk Engelmann & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "Indirect Reciprocity and Strategic Reputation Building in an Experimental Helping Game," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp215, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  3. Small, Deborah A & Loewenstein, George, 2003. " Helping a Victim or Helping the Victim: Altruism and Identifiability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 5-16, January.
  4. Tobias Regner & Javier A. Barria, 2007. "Do Consumers Pay Voluntarily? The Case of Online Music," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  5. Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Seinen, Ingrid & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Social status and group norms: Indirect reciprocity in a repeated helping experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-602, April.
  7. Cox, James C. & Walker, Mark, 1998. "Learning to play Cournot duopoly strategies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 141-161, August.
  8. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  9. Tetsuo Yamamori & Kazuhiko Kato & Toshiji Kawagoe & Akihiko Matsui, 2008. "Voice matters in a dictator game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 336-343, December.
  10. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  11. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis & Kong, Fanmin & Magan, Dan, 2004. "Reciprocity in a two-part dictator game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 333-352, March.
  12. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
  13. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  14. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
  15. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Bargaining efficiency and screening: an experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 285-304, July.
  16. James Cox, 2009. "Trust and reciprocity: implications of game triads and social contexts," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(2), pages 89-104.
  17. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1997. "The Moonlighting Game - An Experimental Study on Reciprocity and Retribution," Discussion Paper Serie B 415, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. Max Albert & Werner Güth & Erich Kirchler & Boris Maciejovsky, 2007. "Are we nice(r) to nice(r) people?—An experimental analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 53-69, March.
  19. Dale, Donald J. & Morgan, John & Rosenthal, Robert W., 2002. "Coordination through Reputations: A Laboratory Experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 52-88, January.
  20. Servtka, Maros, 2009. "Separating reputation, social influence, and identification effects in a dictator game," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 197-209, February.
  21. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
  22. Timothy N. Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 1998. "Social Influence in the Sequential Dictator Game," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-37, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  23. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," Working Papers 02-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  24. James Cox & Klarita Sadiraj & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Implications of trust, fear, and reciprocity for modeling economic behavior," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 1-24, March.
  25. Max Albert & Werner Güth & Erich Kirchler & Boris Maciejovsky, 2002. "Are we nice(r) to nice(r) people? - An Experimental Analysis," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-15, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  26. Schmidt, David & Shupp, Robert & Walker, James M. & Ostrom, Elinor, 2003. "Playing safe in coordination games:: the roles of risk dominance, payoff dominance, and history of play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 281-299, February.
  27. 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.
  28. Van Huyck John B. & Battalio Raymond C. & Walters Mary F., 1995. "Commitment versus Discretion in the Peasant-Dictator Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 143-170, July.
  29. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  30. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
  31. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
  32. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
  33. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  34. M.A. Nowak & K. Sigmund, 1998. "Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity by Image Scoring/ The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," Working Papers ir98040, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:39:y:2010:i:1:p:11-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.