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They Come to Play: Supply Effects in an Economic Experiment

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  • Jeffrey Carpenter

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  • Allison Liati

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  • Brian Vickery

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Abstract

Our experiment challenges the standard, social preference, interpretation of choices in the double blind dictator game. In our bilateral treatment both groups are endowed with $20, any fraction of which can be passed to a randomly determined player in the other group. Because both groups have $20 to start, neither inequality aversion nor altruism should motivate people to give. Despite this, the allocations in this treatment are identical to our replication of the standard double blind game implying that altruism might be the wrong interpretation of giving. Instead, we hypothesize that giving might be driven by participants coming to the lab ready “to play.” The fact that there is a strong correlation between participant responses to an attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder questionnaire and both the rate and level of giving provides direct support for this hypothesis. We also show that having players earn their endowments attenuates the bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Carpenter & Allison Liati & Brian Vickery, 2006. "They Come to Play: Supply Effects in an Economic Experiment," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0602, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0602
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    File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0602.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    4. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
    5. Matthias Benz & Stephan Meier, "undated". "Do People Behave in Experiments as in the Field? � Evidence from Donations," IEW - Working Papers 248, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-735, May.
    7. Jeffrey P. Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2012. "Norm Enforcement: Anger, Indignation, Or Reciprocity?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 555-572, May.
    8. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis & Kong, Fanmin & Magan, Dan, 2004. "Reciprocity in a two-part dictator game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 333-352, March.
    9. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    10. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 653-660, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2011. "Relative Earnings and Giving in a Real-Effort Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3330-3348, December.
    2. Sebastian Kube & Clemens Puppe, 2009. "(When and how) do voters try to manipulate?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 39-52, April.
    3. Ottone, Stefania & Ortona, Guido & Ponzano, Ferruccio & Scacciati, Francesco, 2010. "Some differences in revealed behaviour under different inquiry methods," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 546-553, October.
    4. Ortona, Guido & Ottone, Stefania & Ponzano, Ferruccio & Scacciati, Francesco, 2008. "Labour supply in presence of taxation financing public services. An experimental approach," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 619-631, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; social preference; altruism; dictator game; impulsivity; demand effect;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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