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Hypothetical and Real Incentives in the Ultimatum Game and Andreoni’s Public Goods Game: An Experimental Study

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  • Mark T. Gillis

    (West Virginia University)

  • Paul L. Hettler

    () (California University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

In economics experiments, the use of hypothetical incentives is generally restricted to classroom examples; however hypothetical incentives have a clear cost-saving appeal. Although some published experiments have been conducted under the assumption that people act in the same manner with hypothetical incentives as with real ones, it is generally assumed that only real incentives generate economic behavior. Comparing hypothetical to real incentives, we find that in the Ultimatum Game hypothetical incentives do not consistently provide the same results as real incentives; in Andreoni’s Public Goods Game hypothetical incentives produce results that are statistically indistinguishable from those seen with real incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark T. Gillis & Paul L. Hettler, 2007. "Hypothetical and Real Incentives in the Ultimatum Game and Andreoni’s Public Goods Game: An Experimental Study," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 491-510, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:33:y:2007:i:4:p:491-510
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Isabel Thielmann & Daniel W. Heck & Benjamin E. Hilbig, 2016. "Anonymity and incentives: An investigation of techniques to reduce socially desirable responding in the Trust Game," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 11(5), pages 527-536, September.
    2. Emin Karagözoğlu & Ümit Barış Urhan, 2017. "The Effect of Stake Size in Experimental Bargaining and Distribution Games: A Survey," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 285-325, March.
    3. Zack Devlin-Foltz & Katherine Lim, 2008. "Responsibility to Punish: Discouraging Free-Riders in Public Goods Games," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 36(4), pages 505-518, December.

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