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The Role of Role Uncertainty in Modified Dictator Games

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  • Nagore Iriberri
  • Pedro Rey-Biel

Abstract

We compare behavior in modified dictator games with and without role uncertainty. Subjects choose between a selfish action, a costly surplus creating action (altruistic behavior) and a costly surplus destroying action (spiteful behavior). While costly surplus creating actions are the most frequent under role uncertainty (64%), selfish actions become the most frequent without role uncertainty (69%). Also, the frequency of surplus destroying choices is negligible with role uncertainty (1%) but not so without it (11%). A classification of subjects into four different types of interdependent preferences (Selfish, Social Welfare maximizing, Inequity Averse and Competitive) shows that the use of role uncertainty overestimates the prevalence of Social Welfare maximizing preferences in the subject population (from 74% with role uncertainty to 21% without it) and underestimates Selfish and Inequity Averse preferences. An additional treatment, in which subjects undertake an understanding test before participating in the experiment with role uncertainty, shows that the vast majority of subjects (93%) correctly understand the payoff mechanism with role uncertainty, but yet surplus creating actions were most frequent. Our results warn against the use of role uncertainty in experiments that aim to measure the prevalence of interdependent preferences.
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(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey-Biel, "undated". "The Role of Role Uncertainty in Modified Dictator Games," Working Papers 406, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:406
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey‐Biel, 2013. "Elicited beliefs and social information in modified dictator games: What do dictators believe other dictators do?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(3), pages 515-547, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nagore Iriberri & Pedro Rey‐Biel, 2013. "Elicited beliefs and social information in modified dictator games: What do dictators believe other dictators do?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(3), pages 515-547, November.
    2. Antonio Filippin & Manuela Raimondi, 2016. "The Patron Game with Heterogeneous Endowments: A Case Against Inequality Aversion," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 69-81, March.
    3. Fredrik Carlsson & Mitesh Kataria & Elina Lampi & Maria Vittoria Levati, 2015. "Doing good with other people’s money: an experiment on people's (un)willingness to grant others the freedom to choose," Working Papers 08/2015, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    4. Christoph Engel & Sebastian Goerg, 2015. "If the Worst Comes to the Worst. Dictator Giving When Recipient’s Endowments are Risky," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2015_15, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    5. Hett, Florian & Kröll, Markus & Mechtel, Mario, 2017. "Choosing Who You Are: The Structure and Behavioral Effects of Revealed Identification Preferences," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168223, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Curtis R. Price, 2012. "Gender, Competition, and Managerial Decisions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(1), pages 114-122, January.
    7. Pedro Rey-Biel & Roman Sheremeta & Neslihan Uler, 2015. "When Income Depends on Performance and Luck: The Effects of Culture and Information on Giving," Working Papers 15-12, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    8. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2012. "‘Hiding behind a small cake’ in a newspaper dictator game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 82-85.
    9. Francesco Guala & Antonio Filippin, 2017. "The Effect of Group Identity on Distributive Choice: Social Preference or Heuristic?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(602), pages 1047-1068, June.
    10. Mitesh Kataria & Natalia Montinari, 2012. "Risk, Entitlements and Fairness Bias: Explaining Preferences for Redistribution in Multi-person Setting," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-061, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    11. Levati, M. Vittoria & Nicholas, Aaron & Rai, Birendra, 2014. "Testing the single-peakedness of other-regarding preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 197-209.
    12. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
    13. Ghidoni, Riccardo & Cleave, Blair & Suetens, Sigrid, 2018. "Perfect and Imperfect Strangers in Social Dilemmas," Discussion Paper 2018-002, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    14. Pedro Rey-Biel & Roman Sheremeta & Neslihan Uler, 2011. "(Bad) Luck or (Lack of) Effort?: Comparing Social Sharing Norms between US and Europe," Working Papers 584, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    15. repec:eee:jetheo:v:169:y:2017:i:c:p:62-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Feiler, Lauren, 2014. "Testing models of information avoidance with binary choice dictator games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 253-267.
    17. Hong, Hao & Ding, Jianfeng & Yao, Yang, 2015. "Individual social welfare preferences: An experimental study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 89-97.
    18. Walkowitz, Gari, 2017. "On the Validity of Cost-Saving Methods in Dictator-Game Experiments: A Systematic Test," MPRA Paper 83309, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Rigdon, Mary L. & Levine, Adam Seth, 2009. "The Role of Expectations and Gender in Altruism," MPRA Paper 19372, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Astrid Dannenberg & Thomas Riechmann & Bodo Sturm & Carsten Vogt, 2012. "Inequality aversion and the house money effect," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(3), pages 460-484, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    role uncertainty; role reversal; interdependent preferences; social welfare maximizing; Inequity aversion; mixture-of-types models; strategy method; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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