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'Hiding behind a small cake' in a newspaper dictator game


  • Axel Ockenfels
  • Peter Werner


We conduct an Internet dictator game experiment in collaboration with the popular German Sunday paper "Welt am Sonntag", employing a wider and more representative subject pool than standard laboratory experiments. Recipients either knew or did not know the size of the cake distributed by the dictator. We find that, in case of incomplete information, some dictators 'hide behind the small cake', supporting the notion that some agents' beliefs directly enter the social utility function.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Ockenfels & Peter Werner, 2011. "'Hiding behind a small cake' in a newspaper dictator game," Working Paper Series in Economics 51, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0051

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    Cited by:

    1. Kritikos, Alexander S. & Tan, Jonathan H. W., 2014. "Would I Care if I Knew? Image Concerns and Social Confirmation in Giving," IZA Discussion Papers 8739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Ambler, Kate, 2015. "Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 52-69.
    3. Adam, Marc T.P. & Kroll, Eike B. & Teubner, Timm, 2014. "A note on coupled lotteries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 96-99.
    4. Bartling, Björn & Engl, Florian & Weber, Roberto A., 2014. "Does willful ignorance deflect punishment? – An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 512-524.
    5. Christophe Heintz & Jérémy Celse & Francesca Giardini & Sylvain Max, 2015. "Facing expectations: Those that we prefer to fulfil and those that we disregard," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(5), pages 442-455, September.
    6. Grimm, Veronika & Utikal, Verena & Valmasoni, Lorenzo, 2015. "In-group favoritism and discrimination among multiple out-groups," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 05/2015, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    7. Pedro Moreira, 2015. "The Perception of Economic Value Limits: A Study on the Ultimatum Game Decision Patterns," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 2503337, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    8. Khalmetski, Kiryl & Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2015. "Surprising gifts: Theory and laboratory evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PA), pages 163-208.
    9. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2014. "Scale manipulation in dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 138-142.
    10. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:59-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:joepsy:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:134-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pfaff, Alexander & Vélez, Maria Alejandra & Ramos, Pablo Andres & Molina, Adriana, 2015. "Framed field experiment on resource scarcity & extraction: Path-dependent generosity within sequential water appropriation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 416-429.
    13. Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2014. "Beliefs and ingroup favoritism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 453-462.
    14. Lotz, Sebastian & Schlösser, Thomas & Cain, Daylian M. & Fetchenhauer, Detlef, 2013. "The (in)stability of social preferences: Using justice sensitivity to predict when altruism collapses," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 141-148.
    15. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:254-271 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    dictator game; psychological games; incomplete information; newspaper experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

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