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A reproduction and replication of Engel’s meta-study of dictator game experiments

Author

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  • Le Zhang

    () (University of New South Wales)

  • Andreas Ortmann

    () (University of New South Wales)

Abstract

In this paper, we reproduce Engel’s (2011) meta-study of dictator game experiments using his data, and then replicate it using our own data. We find that Engel’s (2011) meta-study of dictator game experiments is quite robust. We show that meta-analyses of dictator game experiments depend to an extent on the definition of independent variables and consistent coding of studies. This insight pertains in particular to the take-option, which has produced important questions (Bardsley 2008; List 2007; Guala and Mittone 2010) about the epistemological inferences one can draw from dictator game experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Le Zhang & Andreas Ortmann, 2012. "A reproduction and replication of Engel’s meta-study of dictator game experiments," Discussion Papers 2012-44, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2012-44
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    File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2012-44.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
    3. Georg Weizsacker, 2010. "Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2340-2360, December.
    4. David Cooper & E. Dutcher, 2011. "The dynamics of responder behavior in ultimatum games: a meta-study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 519-546, November.
    5. B.D. McCullough & Kerry Anne McGeary & Teresa D. Harrison, 2008. "Do economics journal archives promote replicable research?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1406-1420, November.
    6. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra A., 2011. "Trust games: A meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 865-889.
    7. Rachel Croson & Melanie Marks, 2000. "Step Returns in Threshold Public Goods: A Meta- and Experimental Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 239-259, March.
    8. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
    9. 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.
    10. Richard Anderson & William Greene & B. D. McCullough & H. D. Vinod, 2008. "The role of data/code archives in the future of economic research," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 99-119.
    11. Huck, Steffen & Normann, Hans-Theo & Oechssler, Jorg, 2004. "Two are few and four are many: number effects in experimental oligopolies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 435-446, April.
    12. Guala, Francesco & Mittone, Luigi, 2010. "Paradigmatic experiments: The Dictator Game," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 578-584, October.
    13. Nicholas Bardsley, 2008. "Dictator game giving: altruism or artefact?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 11(2), pages 122-133, June.
    14. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural Differences in Ultimatum Game Experiments: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 171-188, June.
    15. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Roger Koenker & Achim Zeileis, 2009. "On reproducible econometric research," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 833-847.
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    Cited by:

    1. Le Zhang & Andreas Ortmann, 2012. "On the Interpretation of Giving, Taking, and Destruction in Dictator Games and Joy-of-Destruction Games," Discussion Papers 2012-50, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    2. Le Zhang & Andreas Ortmann, 2014. "The effects of the take-option in dictator-game experiments: a comment on Engel’s (2011) meta-study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(3), pages 414-420, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    dictator game experiments; meta-analysis; meta-regression; reproduction; replication;

    JEL classification:

    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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