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Of Altruists and Thieves


  • Brian T Kench

    () (University of Tampa, Tampa, FL 33611, USA.)

  • Neil B Niman

    () (University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, 03824, USA.)


We replicate List's [2007] baseline dictator game (DG) with subjects earning their endowment, evaluate the effect of decreasing the stakes of the DG, conduct a DG in which taking is the only option, measure dictators’ ex post perceptions, and impose a social distance framing effect. Dictator behavior is influenced when they earn their endowment and when the stakes of the game are changed, but not when a social distance framing effect is imposed. Our results suggest that dictators have been nudged into demonstrating altruistic tendencies in the standard DG, just as our taking treatment has nudged dictators to become thieves.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian T Kench & Neil B Niman, 2010. "Of Altruists and Thieves," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 317-343.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:36:y:2010:i:3:p:317-343

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