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Games 2018, 9(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040080

Playing a Game or Making a Decision? Methodological Issues in the Measurement of Distributional Preferences

1
Institute of Management and Economics, Clausthal University of Technology, Julius-Albert-Str. 2, 38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
2
ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Stadthausstrasse 14, 8400 Winterthur, Switzerland
3
Department of Economics, University of Zurich, Blümlisalpstrasse 10, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Abstract

In terms of role assignment and informational characteristics, different contexts have been used when measuring distributional preferences. This could be problematic as contextual variance may inadvertently muddle the measurement process. We use a within-subjects design and systemically vary role assignment as well as the way information is displayed to subjects when measuring distributional preferences in resource allocation tasks as well as proper games. Specifically we examine choice behavior in the contexts of role certainty, role uncertainty, decomposed games, and matrix games. Results show that there is large heterogeneity in the choices people make when deciding how to allocate resources between themselves and some other person under different contextual frames. For instance, people make more prosocial choices under role uncertainty as compared to role certainty. Furthermore, altering the way information is displayed given a particular situation can have a more dramatic effect on choice behavior than altering the situation itself. That is, depending on how information is displayed, people may behave as if they would perform a non-strategic decision making task when in fact they are playing a proper game characterized by strategic interdependence. View Full-Text
Keywords: distributional preferences; framing; individual differences; other regarding preferences; social preferences; Social Value Orientation (SVO) distributional preferences; framing; individual differences; other regarding preferences; social preferences; Social Value Orientation (SVO)
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Greiff, M.; Ackermann, K.A.; Murphy, R.O. Playing a Game or Making a Decision? Methodological Issues in the Measurement of Distributional Preferences. Games 2018, 9, 80.

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