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Meta-Context and Choice-Set Effects in Mini-Dictator Games

Folco Panizza, Alexander Vostroknutov and Giorgio Coricelli
Additional contact information
Folco Panizza: university of trento
Alexander Vostroknutov: General Economics 1 (Micro)
Giorgio Coricelli: university of southern california

No 10, Research Memorandum from Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE)

Abstract: Knowing that some action is possible in principle, even if not available, could affect behaviour. This may happen because a game is perceived as part of a larger game or ‘metacontext’ that includes its outcomes as a proper subset. In an experiment we test the effects of meta-context and specific choice sets on pro-social behaviour in a series of binary mini-Dictator games by eliciting participants’ normative evaluations, fitting a norm-dependent utility, and analysing the residuals. We find that participants’ normative evaluations in mini-Dictator games derive from the meta-context (a standard Dictator game) and explain a sizeable portion of variance in choices. Restricted choice sets of mini-Dictator games also influence participants’ decisions: they take into account dictator’s losses and recipient’s gains from choosing the prosocial action as fractions of their respective maximum payoffs. This choice-set effect correlates with individual measures of rule-following propensity supporting the idea that it is also normative. Thus, there are two types of normative reasoning that contribute to pro-social behaviour: a meta-context and a choice-set effect.

Keywords: mini-Dictator games; meta-context; choice-set effects; norms; norm-dependent utility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C92 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-hpe and nep-upt
Date: 2019-04-16
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