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Does How We Measure Altruism Matter? Playing Both Roles in Dictator Games

Wei Zhan, Catherine Eckel () and Philip Grossman ()

No 05-20, Monash Economics Working Papers from Monash University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Two protocols have been used in the lab to measure altruism using dictator games that vary both the endowment and the relative price of giving. In single-role games, subjects are designated either dictator or recipient and are paid for one decision in that role. In dual-role games, subjects are paid for two decisions, once in each role. It is unclear what is the effect of this change in procedure.The dual-role protocol may prompt dictators to empathize with their recipients and give more. Alternatively, feeling less responsibility for their partners, dictators may give less. We test whether the protocol affects altruistic preferences. Our results suggest that the dual-role design enhances the preference for efficiency at the expense of equality in allocations. Fur-thermore, only measures derived from the single-role data are correlated with subjects’ past giving behavior. This suggests that the single-role protocol is a more accurate measure of altruistic preferences.

Keywords: : Dictator Game, Dual Role, Efficiency, Inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2020-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-gth
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