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Is It Just Legitimacy of Endowments? An Experimental Analysis of Unilateral Giving

  • Luigi Mittone

    ()

  • Matteo Ploner

    ()

Deviations from standard game theoretical predictions have been repeatedly observed in basic Dictator Games. Different interpretations have been provided to these deviations. On the one hand, empirical (among others, Forsythe et al., 1994) and theoretical works (among others, Bolton and Ockenfels, 2000; Fehr and Schmidt, 1999) have adopted the explanation based on other-regarding concerns. On the other hand, potential weaknesses in standard design of the game have been stressed. Evidence collected shows that when controlling for reputation considerations (Hoffman et al., 1996) and for legitimacy of assets (Cherry et al., 2002) behavior observed in the experiments is very close to that predicted by standard game theory. Results from our experiment suggest that the relevance of these two factors in explaining observed behavior may be overestimated by previous contributions. Relevant deviations from selfish equilibrium are registered in a condition of full-anonymity when assets to be shared are earned by the dictators and, simultaneously, recipients are allowed to work without being rewarded for their effort.

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Paper provided by Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia in its series CEEL Working Papers with number 0602.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:0602
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  1. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  2. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  3. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  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. Bruno S. Frey & Iris Bohnet, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 335-339, March.
  6. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
  7. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. 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 653-60, June.
  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. John List & Todd Cherry, 2000. "Learning to Accept in Ultimatum Games: Evidence from an Experimental Design that Generates Low Offers," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 11-29, June.
  11. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  12. Ruffle, Bradley J., 1998. "More Is Better, But Fair Is Fair: Tipping in Dictator and Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 247-265, May.
  13. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 1996. "Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-191, October.
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