Smithian Answers to Some Puzzling Results in the Experimental Literature

Edward Elgar, Companion, Forthcoming

27 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2007


The Ultimatum Game, Dictator Game and Trust Game are three of the most commonly used environments in economics experiments. In contrast to the predictions of standard rational choice theory, these games generate results that do not show the exclusive presence of self-regarding preferences motivating subjects' behaviors. Adam Smith's attention to both self-regarding and other-regarding preferences, and in particular to the role of resentment, love of praiseworthiness and hate of blameworthiness, provides plausible explanations for these experimental results. This paper draws attention to the increased use and usefulness of Adam Smith with regards to the experimental economic literature.

Keywords: Adam Smith, experiments, Ultimatum Game, Dictator Game, Resentment, Praiseworthiness

Suggested Citation

Paganelli, Maria Pia, Smithian Answers to Some Puzzling Results in the Experimental Literature. Edward Elgar, Companion, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Maria Pia Paganelli (Contact Author)

Trinity University ( email )

Dept. of Economics
One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212
United States

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