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Positional preferences and narcissism: evidence from ‘money burning’ dictator games

Adam Ayaita and Kerstin Pull

Applied Economics Letters, 2022, vol. 29, issue 3, 267-271

Abstract: We study the relationship between positional preferences (i.e., preferences concerning the relative rank or position in comparison to others) and narcissism. We use six ‘money burning’ mini-dictator games to measure positional preferences. Two dimensions of narcissism are distinguished: narcissistic admiration (self-enhancement through searching for being admired) and narcissistic rivalry (self-defence through an antagonistic orientation towards others). Controlling for other relevant individual characteristics such as the Big Five personality traits and gender, we find evidence that narcissistic admiration is a negative predictor and narcissistic rivalry a positive predictor of positional preferences. We further find exploratory evidence that studying business or economics as a major (versus minor) subject is associated with less positional preferences and that the relationships between narcissism and positional preferences are mediated by decision makers’ expectations with regard to other players’ choices.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2020.1863320

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