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Cultural values and behavior in dictator, ultimatum, trust games: an experimental study


  • Sun-Ki Chai

    () (Department of Sociology, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa)

  • Dolgosuren Dorj

    () (Department of Economics, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa)

  • Katerina Sherstyuk

    () (Department of Economics, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa)


We explain laboratory behavior in the dictator, ultimatum and trust games based on two cultural dimensions adopted from social and cultural anthropology: grid and group, which translate into reciprocity and altruism, respectively, in such games. Altruism and reciprocity characteristics are measured for each individual using selected items from the World Values Survey. We find that altruism and reciprocity attributes systematically affect behavior. Subjects with higher altruism scores offer more, accept lower offers and return more. Subjects with higher reciprocity scores are more willing to punish violators of norms by rejecting offers more often, dividing fewer dollars and returning fewer dollars in the ultimatum and trust games.

Suggested Citation

  • Sun-Ki Chai & Dolgosuren Dorj & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2011. "Cultural values and behavior in dictator, ultimatum, trust games: an experimental study," Working Papers 201106, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201106

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    File Function: First Version, 2011
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    More about this item


    laboratory experiment; two-person game; survey; culture;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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