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Getting a Yes. An Experiment on the Power of Asking

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  • Bruttel, Lisa
  • Stolley, Florian
  • Utikal, Verena

Abstract

This paper studies how the request for a favor has to be devised in order to maximize its chance of success. We present results from a mini-dictator game laboratory experiment in which giving entails an efficiency gain. Before the dictator decides, the recipient can send a free-form text message to the dictator. We find that the content of a message and its form do matter in the decision to give. Putting effort into the message by writing in a humorous and creative way pays off. We argue that this can be interpreted in terms of reciprocity. Mentioning reasons why the money is needed increases the generosity of dictators as well. Additionally, we find differences in the behavior of male and female dictators. Only men react positively to efficiency arguments, while only women react to messages that emphasize the specific power and responsibility of the dictator.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruttel, Lisa & Stolley, Florian & Utikal, Verena, 2017. "Getting a Yes. An Experiment on the Power of Asking," MPRA Paper 79140, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:79140
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dictator game; communication; inequality; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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