Do Dictator Games Measure Altruism?

HANDBOOK ON THE ECONOMICS OF PHILANTHROPY, RECIPROCITY AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni, eds., Edward Elgar, Forthcoming

8 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2011

See all articles by Daniel John Zizzo

Daniel John Zizzo

University of Queensland - School of Economics

Date Written: August 5, 2011

Abstract

This note paper considers briefly whether dictator games are a good tool to measure altruism. The answer is negative: behavior in dictator games is seriously confounded by what I shall label experimenter demand effects. Section 2 briefly defines dictator games and reviews some of its purported enduring appeal. Section 3 criticizes dictator games as a measure of altruism and concludes by considering whether a role for dictator games can still be found that may be of relevance for the economics of philanthropy.

Keywords: dictator games, altruism, social norms, economic methodology, experimental economics

JEL Classification: B41, C91, D64

Suggested Citation

Zizzo, Daniel John, Do Dictator Games Measure Altruism? (August 5, 2011). HANDBOOK ON THE ECONOMICS OF PHILANTHROPY, RECIPROCITY AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni, eds., Edward Elgar, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1906271

Daniel John Zizzo (Contact Author)

University of Queensland - School of Economics ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

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