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Giving in Dictator Games - Experimenter Demand Effect or Preference over the Rules of the Game?

  • Nadine Chlaß

    ()

    (School of Economics and Business Administration FSU Jena)

  • Peter G. Moffatt

    ()

    (University of East Anglia, UK)

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    Traditionally, giving in dictator games was assumed to signal preferences over others' payoffs. To date, several studies find that dictator game giving breaks down under conditions designed to increase dictators' anonymity or if an option to take money obscures the purpose of the task. Giving is therefore argued to result from an experimenter demand effect. Here, we put this new interpretation to a stress test and find evidence that dictators mean to compensate the recipient for her vulnerable position in the game. Our results explain why giving decreases under specific conditions designed to increase anonymity and why the same individual may signal very different other-regarding preferences across different rules and/or roles of a game (Blanco et al. 2011).

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    File URL: http://pubdb.wiwi.uni-jena.de/pdf/wp_2012_044.pdf
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    Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2012-044.

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    Date of creation: 23 Jul 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-044
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    1. Frey, Bruno S. & Stutzer, Alois, 2002. "Beyond Outcomes: Measuring Procedural Utility," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt7qp9q1js, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    2. Smith, Vernon L., 2010. "Theory and experiment: What are the questions?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 3-15, January.
    3. Franzen, Axel & Pointner, Sonja, 2012. "Anonymity in the dictator game revisited," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 74-81.
    4. Nadine Chlaß & Werner Güth & Topi Miettinen, 2009. "Beyond Procedural Equity and Reciprocity," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-069, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
    5. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    6. Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 75-98, March.
    7. Maria Vittoria Levati & Topi Miettinen & Birendra K. Rai, 2010. "Context and Interpretation in Laboratory Experiments: The Case of Reciprocity," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-090, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
    8. Burnham, Terence C., 2003. "Engineering altruism: a theoretical and experimental investigation of anonymity and gift giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 133-144, January.
    9. Branas-Garza, Pablo, 2006. "Poverty in dictator games: Awakening solidarity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 306-320, July.
    10. Pablo Brañas-Garza, 2006. "Promoting Helping Behavior with Framing in Dictator games," ThE Papers 06/04, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    11. Oechssler, Jörg, 2009. "Searching beyond the lamppost: Let’s focus on economically relevant questions," Working Papers 0486, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    12. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Normann, Hans Theo, 2011. "A within-subject analysis of other-regarding preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 321-338, June.
    13. Mikhael Shor, 2009. "Procedural Justice in Simple Bargaining Games," Working papers 2012-25, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    14. John A. List, 2007. "On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 482-493.
    15. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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