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Keeping others in our mind or in our heart? Distribution games under cognitive load

Author

Listed:
  • Hauge, Karen Evelyn

    () (Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Brekke, Kjell Arne

    () (University of Oslo)

  • Johansson, Lars-Olof

    () (Department of Psychology)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Svedsäter, Henrik

    () (London Business School)

Abstract

It has recently been argued that giving is spontaneous while greed is calculated (Rand et al. 2012). If greed is calculated we would expect that cognitive load, which is assumed to reduce the influence of cognitive processes, should affect greed. In this paper we study both charitable giving and the behavior of dictators under high and low cognitive load, to test if greed is affected by the load. In the dictator games we use both a give frame, where the dictators are given an amount that they may share with a partner, and a take frame, where dictators may take from an amount initially allocated to the partner. The results show consistently that the behavioral effect in terms of allocated money of the induced load is small if at all existent. At the same time, follow-up questions indicate that the subjects’ decisions are more driven by their feelings and less driven by their thoughts under cognitive load.

Suggested Citation

  • Hauge, Karen Evelyn & Brekke, Kjell Arne & Johansson, Lars-Olof & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Svedsäter, Henrik, 2014. "Keeping others in our mind or in our heart? Distribution games under cognitive load," Working Papers in Economics 600, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0600
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Andreoni, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brice Corgnet & Antonio M. Espín & Roberto Hernán-González, 2015. "The cognitive basis of social behavior: cognitive reflection overrides antisocial but not always prosocial motives," Working Papers 15-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Duffy, Sean & Naddeo, JJ & Owens, David & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and mixed strategies: On brains and minimax," MPRA Paper 71878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:463-487 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Allred, Sarah & Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and strategic sophistication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 162-178.
    5. Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
    6. repec:gam:jgames:v:8:y:2017:i:3:p:36-:d:109032 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:soceco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:127-138 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Deck, Cary & Jahedi, Salar, 2015. "The effect of cognitive load on economic decision making: A survey and new experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 97-119.
    9. Grossman, Zachary & van der Weele, Joël & Andrijevik, Ana, 2014. "A Test of Dual-Process Reasoning in Charitable Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4tm617f7, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cognitive load; Dictator games; Social preferences; Pro-social behavior; altruism;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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