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Framing effects in the prisoner’s dilemma but not in the dictator game


  • Sebastian J. Goerg

    () (Technical University Munich
    Technical University Munich
    IZA-Institute of Labor Economics
    MPI for Research on Collective Goods)

  • David Rand

    () (Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Gari Walkowitz

    () (Technical University of Munich
    National Research University Higher School of Economics)


We systematically investigate prisoner’s dilemma and dictator games with valence framing. We find that give versus take frames influence subjects’ behavior and beliefs in the prisoner’s dilemma games but not in the dictator games. We conclude that valence framing has a stronger impact on behavior in strategic interactions, i.e., in the prisoner’s dilemma game, than in allocation tasks without strategic interaction, i.e., in the dictator game.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian J. Goerg & David Rand & Gari Walkowitz, 2020. "Framing effects in the prisoner’s dilemma but not in the dictator game," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-12, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jesaex:v:6:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s40881-019-00081-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s40881-019-00081-1

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    More about this item


    Prisoner’s dilemma; Dictator game; Framing; Give; Take; Cooperation; Generosity;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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