IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Dictator game giving and norms of redistribution: Does giving in the dictator game parallel with the supporting of income redistribution in the field?

  • Tammi, Timo
Registered author(s):

    The dictator game is a tool for analyzing generosity in a simple experimental environment. The susceptibility of the results to relatively small changes in the experimental design has cast doubt on the interpretation of the game within the framework of the traditional economic theory of preferences. Another concern attached to the game is that patterns similar to those found in experiments are difficult to find outside experiments. Consequently, the recent discussion has ranged over using the dictator game as a tool for investigating social norms rather than as a setting to test the theory of preferences. Any progress in this discussion presupposes more empirical work using various data and taking various theoretical perspectives. This paper contributes to such research by comparing giving in the dictator game with supporting income redistribution in the field. In particular, the paper provides a simple data-analysis of three developed countries (Spain, Sweden and the USA) to find a data pattern similar to data patterns in dictator game experiments. A symmetrical resemblance is found in the case of Sweden, an asymmetrical one in the case of the USA, and a non-resemblance in the case of Spain.

    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): 43 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 44-48

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:43:y:2013:i:c:p:44-48
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2013.01.002
    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. Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2008. "Paradigmatic Experiments: the Dictator Game," CEEL Working Papers 0807, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    2. Christoph Engel, 2010. "Dictator Games: A Meta Study," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2011.
    3. Martin Halla & Johann Scharler, 2008. "Marriage, Divorce and Interstate Risk Sharing," Economics working papers 2008-16, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    4. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 1998. "Informal Family Insurance and the Design of the Welfare State," JCPR Working Papers 44, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    5. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
    6. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2002. "Social Norms and Welfare State Dynamics," Working Paper Series 585, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2008. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 311-338.
    8. Krupka, Erin L. & Weber, Roberto A., 2008. "Identifying Social Norms Using Coordination Games: Why Does Dictator Game Sharing Vary?," IZA Discussion Papers 3860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2006. "Poverty in dictator games: Awakening solidarity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 306-320, July.
    10. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C1-C33, March.
    11. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2009. "Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1291-1318, December.
    12. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2009. "Growing Up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy," IZA Discussion Papers 4365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Ken Binmore, 2010. "Social norms or social preferences?," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 9(2), pages 139-157, December.
    14. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    15. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    16. Francesco Farina & Gianluca Grimalda, 2011. "A cross-country experimental comparison of preferences for redistribution," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 0211, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
    17. Giacomo Corneo, 2012. "Work Norms and the Welfare State," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 58(4), pages 599-625, December.
    18. Christina M. Fong, 2007. "Evidence from an Experiment on Charity to Welfare Recipients: Reciprocity, Altruism and the Empathic Responsiveness Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1008-1024, 07.
    19. Servátka, Maros, 2010. "Does generosity generate generosity? An experimental study of reputation effects in a dictator game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 11-17, January.
    20. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    21. Lindbeck, Assar, 1997. "Incentives and Social Norms in Household Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 370-77, May.
    22. Fong, Christina M. & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2006. "Strong reciprocity and the welfare state," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    23. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
    24. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2007. "Promoting helping behavior with framing in dictator games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 477-486, August.
    25. Pamela Jakiela, 2011. "Social Preferences and Fairness Norms as Informal Institutions: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 509-13, May.
    26. John List & Steven Levitt, 2007. "What do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World," Artefactual Field Experiments 00480, The Field Experiments Website.
    27. Christina Fong, 2003. "Emphatic responsiveness: Evidence from a randomized experiment on giving to welfare recipients," Framed Field Experiments 00149, The Field Experiments Website.
    28. 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.
    29. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    30. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    31. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
    32. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    33. 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.
    34. 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.
    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:43:y:2013:i:c:p:44-48. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)

    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.