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Testing for Malice

Brishti Guha ()

Economics Bulletin, 2017, vol. 37, issue 1, 327-335

Abstract: Consider two parties disputing claims over an indivisible prize. A malicious claimant may or may not intrinsically value the prize for its own sake, but always derives pleasure “malice utility†from depriving the rival claimant. I devise a method for detecting malice in experimental settings. I derive a simple mechanism which allows third parties (such as experimenters) to distinguish whether (i) both claimants bear each other malice (two-sided malice) (ii) whether only one claimant bears the other malice (one-sided malice) and if so, the identity of this malicious claimant, and (iii) whether neither of the claimants are maliciously motivated. I show that, with slight modifications, this mechanism is applicable both to the case where the claimants know each other and to the case where they are strangers. I also discuss a method whereby the experimenter may infer an upper bound on the malice of the less malicious party in the case of two-sided malice.

Keywords: Malice; mechanism design; dominant strategies; sequential games; experiments; King Solomon's problem. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C9 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-02-22
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