When Ignorance is Bliss* : Information Asymmetries Enhance Prosocial Behavior in Dicator Games

Date: 2014
By: Winschel, Evguenia
Zahn, Philipp
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:mnh:wpaper:36632&r=net
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.
Keywords: Asymmetric Information , Prosocial Behavior , Efficiency Concern , Inequality Aversion , Dictator Game
JEL: D82 C91

Accepting Zero in the Ultimatum Game: Selfish Nash Response?

Date: 2012-01
By: Gianandrea Staffiero (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Filippos Exadaktylos (BELIS, Murat Sertel Center for Advanced Economic Studies,Istanbul Bilgi University)
Antonio M. Espín
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:msc:wpaper:201203&r=net
The rejection of unfair proposals in ultimatum games is often quoted as evidence of other-regarding preferences. In this paper we focus on those responders who accept any proposals, setting the minimum acceptable offer (MAO) at zero. While this behavior could result from the randomization between the two payoff-maximizing strategies (i.e. setting MAO at zero or at the smallest positive amount), it also implies that the opponent’s payoff is maximized and the “pie†remains intact. We match subjects’ behavior as ultimatum responders with their choices in the dictator game, in two large-scale experiments. We find that those who set MAO at zero are the most generous dictators. Moreover, they differ substantially from responders whose MAO is the smallest positive offer, who are the greediest dictators. Thus, an interpretation of zero MAOs in terms of selfish, payoff-maximizing behavior could be misleading. Our evidence indicates that the restraint from punishing others can be driven by altruism and by the desire to maximize social welfare.
Keywords: ultimatum game, dictator game, altruism, social welfare, costly punishment, selfishness, social preferences
JEL: C93

Is Giving Equivalent to Not Taking in Dictator Games?

Date: 2013-04
By: Korenok Oleg (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)
Edward L. Millner (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)
Laura Razzolini (Department of Economics, VCU School of Business)
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:vcu:wpaper:1301&r=net
We answer the question: Is giving equivalent to not taking? We show that, if giving is equivalent to not taking, impure altruism could account for List’s (2007) finding that the payoff to recipients in a dictator game decreases when the dictator has the option to take. We examine behavior in dictator games with different taking options but equivalent final payoffs. We find that the recipients tend to earn more as the amount the dictator must take to achieve a given final payoff increases. We conclude that not taking is not equivalent to giving and agree with List (2007) that the current social preference models fail to rationalize the observed data.
Keywords: Dictator Game; Impure Altruism; Taking
JEL: C91

Are Behavioral Choices in the Ultimatum and Investment Games Strategic?

Date: 2012-09
By: Lora R. Todorova (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
Bodo Vogt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:mag:wpaper:120021&r=net
This paper experimentally examines the relationship between self-reporting risk preferences and behavioral choices in the subsequently played dictator, ultimatum and investment games. The results from these experiments are used to discern the motivational bases of behavioral choices in the ultimatum and investment games. The focus is on investigating whether strategic considerations are important for strategy selection in the two games. We find that self-reporting risk preferences does not alter the dictators’ offers and trusters’ investments, while it significantly decreases the proposers’ offers and leads to a substantial decrease in the amount trustees give back to their partners. We interpret these results as evidence that the decisions of proposers in the ultimatum game and trustees in the investment game are strategic.
Keywords: coordination game, dictator game, ultimatum game, investment game, questionnaire, risk scale, risk preferences