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When ignorance is bliss : information asymmetries enhance prosocial behavior in dicator games

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  • Winschel, Evguenia
  • Zahn, Philipp

Abstract

In most laboratory experiments concerning prosocial behavior subjects are fully informed how their decision influences the payoff of other players. Outside the laboratory, however, individuals typically have to decide without such detailed knowledge. To asses the effect of information asymmetries on prosocial behavior, we conduct a laboratory experiment with a simple non-strategic interaction. A dictator has only limited knowledge about the benefits his prosocial action generates for a recipient. We observe subjects with heterogenous social preferences. While under symmetric information only individuals with the same type of preferences transfer, under asymmetric information different types transfer at the same time. As a consequence and the main finding of our experiment, uninformed dictators behave more prosocially than informed dictators.

Suggested Citation

  • Winschel, Evguenia & Zahn, Philipp, 2014. "When ignorance is bliss : information asymmetries enhance prosocial behavior in dicator games," Working Papers 13-07, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:36632
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    Cited by:

    1. Sutan, Angela & Grolleau, Gilles & Mateu, Guillermo & Vranceanu, Radu, 2018. "“Facta non verba”: An experiment on pledging and giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1-15.
    2. Engel, Christoph & Goerg, Sebastian J., 2018. "If the worst comes to the worst: Dictator giving when recipient’s endowments are risky," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 51-70.
    3. Kandul, Serhiy, 2016. "Ex-post blindness as excuse? The effect of information disclosure on giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 91-101.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric Information ; Prosocial Behavior ; Efficiency Concern ; Inequality Aversion ; Dictator Game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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