Special Issue "Dictator Games"

A special issue of Games (ISSN 2073-4336).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Oleg Korenok

Department of Economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
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Interests: Dictator games; macroeconomics; experimental economics
Guest Editor
Dr. Caleb A. Cox

Department of Economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
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Interests: behavioral game theory; experimental economics; microeconomic theory; public economics
Guest Editor
Dr. John P. Lightle

Department of Economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
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Interests: experimental economics; behavioral economics; applied microeconomic theory

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For the past three decades, the dictator game has emerged as a simple metric or baseline for studying human behavior, including generosity, fairness, reciprocity, social preferences, social norms, moral costs, charitable giving, contributions to public goods, market design, institutions, and gender differences, among many others. This Special Issue is looking for submissions that make novel contributions in this broad program by using dictator games. We welcome submissions using a variety of methods to study behavior in dictator games, including laboratory experiments, field experiments, theoretical analysis, and meta-analysis.

Prof. Oleg Korenok
Dr. Caleb A. Cox
Dr. John P. Lightle
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Games is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • dictator game
  • social preferences
  • giving
  • laboratory experiments
  • field experiments

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Charity Begins at Home: A Lab-in-the-Field Experiment on Charitable Giving
Games 2018, 9(4), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040095
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 13 October 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
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Abstract
Charities operate at different levels: national, state, or local. We test the effect of the level of the organization on charitable giving in a sample of adults in two Texas communities. Subjects make four charitable giving “dictator game” decisions from a fixed amount [...] Read more.
Charities operate at different levels: national, state, or local. We test the effect of the level of the organization on charitable giving in a sample of adults in two Texas communities. Subjects make four charitable giving “dictator game” decisions from a fixed amount of money provided by the experimenter. Three decisions target different charitable organizations, all of which have a disaster-relief mission, but differ in the level of operation. The fourth targets an individual recipient, identified by the local fire department as a victim of a fire. One of the four is selected randomly for payment. Giving is significantly higher to national and local organizations compared to state. We find a higher propensity to donate and larger amount donated to the individual relative to all organizations. Subsequent analysis compares a number of demographic and attitudinal covariates with donations to specific charities. In a second decision, subjects instead indicate which of their four prior decisions they would most prefer to implement. Here we see that a majority of subjects prefer the gift to the individual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Gender Differences in Yielding to Social Influence: An Impunity Experiment
Games 2018, 9(4), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040086
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 22 October 2018 / Published: 27 October 2018
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Abstract
In impunity games proposers, like allocators in dictator games, can take what they want; however, responders can refuse offers deemed unsatisfactory at own cost. We modify the impunity game via allowing offers to condition of another participant’s counterfactual generosity intention. For a given [...] Read more.
In impunity games proposers, like allocators in dictator games, can take what they want; however, responders can refuse offers deemed unsatisfactory at own cost. We modify the impunity game via allowing offers to condition of another participant’s counterfactual generosity intention. For a given pair of proposer candidates each states, via the strategy vector method, an intended and two adjusted offers: one (possibly) upward adjusted in case the intended offer of the other candidate is higher and one (possibly) downward adjusted in case it is lower. Additionally, each candidate determines an acceptance threshold for the responder role. Only one candidate in each pair is randomly selected and endowed as the actual proposer whose offer is either possibly upward or downward adjusted depending on the counterfactual offer of the other proposer candidate. The endowed proposer of one pair is matched with the non-endowed candidate of another pair in the responder role. The data confirm that counterfactual intentions of others often affect own generosity via substantial and significant average adjustments to the weakest social influence. Overall, offers seem correlated with acceptance thresholds. Furthermore, we find significant gender differences: female participants state lower intended and adjusted offers as well as acceptance thresholds and therefore appear to be less sensitive to social influence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Can I Rely on You?
Games 2018, 9(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040081
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 22 September 2018 / Accepted: 10 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
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Abstract
This paper introduces a strategic element into the dictator game by allowing recipients to select their dictator. Recipients are presented with the photographs of two dictators and the envelopes containing their allocations, and are then asked to select which dictator’s gift they would [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a strategic element into the dictator game by allowing recipients to select their dictator. Recipients are presented with the photographs of two dictators and the envelopes containing their allocations, and are then asked to select which dictator’s gift they would like to receive. The recipient is paid the contents of the envelope they select. The photographs carry information about the gender and race/ethnicity of the dictators, and we ask an independent sample of raters to evaluate the photographs for other characteristics. While gender and ethnicity do not affect the recipient’s choice, one characteristic inferred from the photos makes them significantly more likely to be selected: Their perceived reliability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
Open AccessArticle
Playing a Game or Making a Decision? Methodological Issues in the Measurement of Distributional Preferences
Games 2018, 9(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040080
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1301 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
How to Split Gains and Losses? Experimental Evidence of Dictator and Ultimatum Games
Games 2018, 9(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040078
Received: 27 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 3 October 2018 / Published: 5 October 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3787 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous research has typically focused on distribution problems that emerge in the domain of gains. Only a few studies have distinguished between games played in the domain of gains from games in the domain of losses, even though, for example, prospect theory predicts [...] Read more.
Previous research has typically focused on distribution problems that emerge in the domain of gains. Only a few studies have distinguished between games played in the domain of gains from games in the domain of losses, even though, for example, prospect theory predicts differences between behavior in both domains. In this study, we experimentally analyze players’ behavior in dictator and ultimatum games when they need to divide a monetary loss and then compare this to behavior when players have to divide a monetary gain. We find that players treat gains and losses differently in that they are less generous in games over losses and react differently to prior experiences. Players in the dictator game become more selfish after they have had the experience of playing an ultimatum game first. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Distance Matters in Dictator Games: Evidence from 11 Mexican Villages
Games 2018, 9(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040077
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 2 October 2018
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Abstract
We examine the impact of social distance in dictator game giving. The study is conducted in a field setting with high stakes (two days’ wages). The sample is a representative sample from eleven low-income Mexican villages. Subjects make multiple dictator decisions simultaneously, in [...] Read more.
We examine the impact of social distance in dictator game giving. The study is conducted in a field setting with high stakes (two days’ wages). The sample is a representative sample from eleven low-income Mexican villages. Subjects make multiple dictator decisions simultaneously, in a comparative dictator game. We show the relationship between social distance and giving using several family members, a member of the same village, and a stranger from a different village. Dictator giving shows substantial variation across recipient types and varies directly with social distance. We find higher giving towards family members than towards community members and strangers. Furthermore, our results indicate that giving to community members and to strangers is not different. In light of our results, it is important to consider the impact of social distance on inter- and intra-household transfers in policy interventions that alleviate poverty, e.g., conditional transfers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Intentions-Based Reciprocity to Monetary and Non-Monetary Gifts
Games 2018, 9(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040074
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
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Abstract
Social preference models emphasize that perceived intentions motivate reciprocity. However, laboratory tests of this theory typically manipulate perceived intentions through changes in wealth resulting from a sacrifice in pay by another. There is little evidence on whether reciprocity occurs in response to perceived [...] Read more.
Social preference models emphasize that perceived intentions motivate reciprocity. However, laboratory tests of this theory typically manipulate perceived intentions through changes in wealth resulting from a sacrifice in pay by another. There is little evidence on whether reciprocity occurs in response to perceived intentions alone, independent of concurrent changes in pay and giver sacrifice (and any associated guilt from that sacrifice). This paper addresses this gap in the literature by implementing a modified dictator game where gifts to dictators are possible, but where gift transactions are also stochastically prevented by nature. This leads to instances of observed gift-giving intentions that yield no sacrifice or change in outcomes. In addition, this study uses both monetary and non-monetary gifts; previous studies typically use only monetary incentives, even though real-world applications of this literature often involve non-monetary incentives such as business or marketing gifts. The results show that on average, dictators reciprocated strongly to just the intention to give a gift, and they also reciprocated similarly to both monetary and non-monetary gifts. These results are consistent with intentions-based models of social preferences and with much of the marketing literature on business gifts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Implicit Bias Predict Dictator Giving?
Games 2018, 9(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9040073
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 21 September 2018
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Abstract
Implicit associations and biases are carried without awareness or conscious direction, yet there is reason to believe they may be influenced by social pressures. In this paper, I study social pressure as a motive to give, as well as giving itself under conditions [...] Read more.
Implicit associations and biases are carried without awareness or conscious direction, yet there is reason to believe they may be influenced by social pressures. In this paper, I study social pressure as a motive to give, as well as giving itself under conditions of implicit bias. In doing so, I pair the Implicit Association Test (IAT), commonplace in other social sciences, with a laboratory dictator game with sorting. I find that despite its popularity, the IAT does not predict dictator giving and social pressure does not explain acts of giving from biased dictators. These results are indicative of the meaningful difference between having an implicit bias and acting on one. As such, results can be thought of as a bound on the external validity of the IAT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Spousal Dictator Game: Household Decisions and Other-Regarding Preferences
Games 2018, 9(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9030069
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
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Abstract
Using a laboratory experiment, we collected data on dictator giving among student strangers and married couples in a suburban area in the United States. Confirming common belief and prior empirical evidence, we find that giving among spouses is greater than giving among anonymous [...] Read more.
Using a laboratory experiment, we collected data on dictator giving among student strangers and married couples in a suburban area in the United States. Confirming common belief and prior empirical evidence, we find that giving among spouses is greater than giving among anonymous students. We further investigated factors associated with spousal giving which may provide insight for the development of future theories, or into explaining other-regarding preferences. Our data shows that giving is positively associated with who manages household money and controls household income. This result is robust after controlling for each spouse’s personal income and using various econometric specifications. The results suggest that spousal giving may be due to household economic roles in addition to other-regarding preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Voluntary Leadership and Asymmetric Endowments in the Investment Game
Games 2018, 9(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9030051
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 15 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
We experimentally investigate variants of the investment game by Berg, Dickhaut, and McCabe (1995), in which one of the two players decides who are first mover and second mover. It has been shown by Kleine, Königstein, and Rozsnyói (2014) that voluntary leadership increases [...] Read more.
We experimentally investigate variants of the investment game by Berg, Dickhaut, and McCabe (1995), in which one of the two players decides who are first mover and second mover. It has been shown by Kleine, Königstein, and Rozsnyói (2014) that voluntary leadership increases both investment and backtransfer. We interpret voluntary leadership as a signal of cooperation that stimulates reciprocal cooperation. If a relatively rich player takes the lead (putting himself/herself under investment risk) this should be seen as a less strong signal of cooperation than taking the lead among equally endowed players. Indeed, we show that under asymmetric endowments, voluntary leadership has a weaker effect than under symmetric endowments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
Open AccessArticle
From Windfall Sharing to Property Ownership: Prosocial Personality Traits in Giving and Taking Dictator Games
Games 2018, 9(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020030
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
The dictator game is a well-known task measuring prosocial preferences, in which one person divides a fixed amount of windfall money with a recipient. A key factor in real-world transfers of wealth is the concept of property ownership and consequently the related acts [...] Read more.
The dictator game is a well-known task measuring prosocial preferences, in which one person divides a fixed amount of windfall money with a recipient. A key factor in real-world transfers of wealth is the concept of property ownership and consequently the related acts of giving and taking. Using a variation of the traditional dictator game (N = 256), we examined whether individual differences under different game frames corresponded with prosocial personality traits from the Big Five (politeness, compassion) and HEXACO (Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, eXtraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience) (honesty-humility, agreeableness) models. In the Big Five model, the effects of prosocial personality traits were generally stronger and more consistent for taking than for giving, in line with a “do-no-harm” explanation, whereby prosocial individuals felt less entitled to and less willing to infringe on the endowments of others. In contrast, HEXACO honesty-humility predicted allocations across both frames, consistent with its broad association with fair-mindedness, and providing further evidence of its role in allocations of wealth more generally. These findings highlight the utility of integrating personality psychology with behavioral economics, in which the discriminant validity across prosocial traits can shed light on the distinct motivations underpinning social decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Gender Differences in the Response to Decision Power and Responsibility—Framing Effects in a Dictator Game
Games 2018, 9(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020028
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 20 May 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2932 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper studies the effects of two different frames on decisions in a dictator game. Before making their allocation decision, dictators read a short text. Depending on the treatment, the text either emphasizes their decision power and freedom of choice or it stresses [...] Read more.
This paper studies the effects of two different frames on decisions in a dictator game. Before making their allocation decision, dictators read a short text. Depending on the treatment, the text either emphasizes their decision power and freedom of choice or it stresses their responsibility for the receiver’s payoff. Including a control treatment without such a text, three treatments are conducted with a total of 207 dictators. Our results show a different reaction to these texts depending on the dictator’s gender. We find that only men react positively to a text that stresses their responsibility for the receiver, while only women seem to react positively to a text that emphasizes their decision power and freedom of choice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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Open AccessArticle
Theory of Mind and General Intelligence in Dictator and Ultimatum Games
Games 2018, 9(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020016
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (56216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Decreasing social sensitivity (i.e., the ability of a person to perceive, understand, and respect the feelings and viewpoints of others), has been shown to facilitate selfish behavior. This is not only true for exogenous changes in social sensitivity, but also for social sensitivity [...] Read more.
Decreasing social sensitivity (i.e., the ability of a person to perceive, understand, and respect the feelings and viewpoints of others), has been shown to facilitate selfish behavior. This is not only true for exogenous changes in social sensitivity, but also for social sensitivity influenced by someone’s social cognition. In this analysis, we examined one measure of social cognition, namely a person’s Theory of Mind (ToM), to examine differences in decision-making in standard non-strategic and strategic environments (dictator and ultimatum games). We found that participants with higher ToM gave a greater share in the non-strategic environment. In the ultimatum game, however, ToM showed no correlation with the offers of the ultimators. Instead, we found that general intelligence scores—measured by the Wonderlic test—shared a negative, albeit weak, correlation with the amount offered in the ultimatum game. Thus, we find that lower social cognition is an important explanatory variable for selfish behavior in a non-strategic environment, while general intelligence shares some correlation in a strategic environment. Similar to the change in social sensitivity created by a specific game design, social sensitivity influenced by individual personality traits can influence behavior in non-strategic environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dictator Games)
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