Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games

11 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011

See all articles by Catherine C. Eckel

Catherine C. Eckel

Texas A&M University

Philip J. Grossman

Monash University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 1996


We conduct double-anonymous dictator experiments to explore the role of altruism in motivating subjects’ behavior. We vary the extent to which an anonymous recipient is deserving of aid and investigate its effect on the allocation of a fixed pie by student subjects. This is accomplished by including as treatments: (1) an anonymous student subject and (2) an established charity. We find that a significant increase in donations occurs when we increase the extent to which a donation goes to a recipient generally agreed to be “deserving.” We conclude that subjects are rational in the way they incorporate fairness into their decisions.

JEL Classification: A13, C91, D64

Suggested Citation

Eckel, Catherine C. and Grossman, Philip J., Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games (1996). Games and Economic Behavior, Vol. 16, p. 181, 1996, Available at SSRN:

Catherine C. Eckel (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

Philip J. Grossman

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, 3800
61399020052 (Phone)

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