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If You Could Read My Mind—An Experimental Beauty-Contest Game with Children

Author

Listed:
  • Henning Hermes

    (NHH Norwegian School of Economics)

  • Daniel Schunk

    (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Abstract

We develop a new design for the experimental beauty-contest game (BCG) that is suitable for children in school age and test it with 114 schoolchildren aged 9–11 years. In addition, we collect measures on cognitive skills and perspective-taking abilities to identify determinants of successful performance in the game. Results demonstrate that children can successfully understand and play a BCG. Choices start at a slightly higher level than those of adults but learning over time and depth of reasoning are largely comparable with the results of studies run with adults. Cognitive skills are predictive only of whether children choose weakly dominated strategies, whereas measures of perspective-taking abilities are strongly linked to successful performance in the BCG. These ?ndings emphasize the importance of perspective-taking abilities for strategic interaction and economic decision-making. Our new design for the experimental BCG allows further study of the development of strategic interaction skills starting already in school age.

Suggested Citation

  • Henning Hermes & Daniel Schunk, 2019. "If You Could Read My Mind—An Experimental Beauty-Contest Game with Children," Working Papers 1913, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
  • Handle: RePEc:jgu:wpaper:1913
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    children; experimental beauty-contest game; guessing game; strategic interaction; decision-making; perspective-taking; theory of mind; empathy; noncognitive skills;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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