What Does 'Clean' Really Mean? The Implicit Framing of Decontextualized Experiments

9 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2013 Last revised: 14 Dec 2013

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: December 1, 2013

Abstract

It is standard in experimental economics to use decontextualized designs where payoff structures are presented using neutral language. Here we show that cooperation in such a neutrally framed Prisoner’s Dilemma is equivalent to a PD framed as contributing to a cooperative endeavor. Conversely, there is substantially less cooperation in a PD framed as a competition. We conclude that in a decontextualized context, our participants by default project a cooperative frame onto the payoff structure.

Keywords: cooperation, framing, social dilemmas, social preferences

JEL Classification: C70, C91, D62, D64, D80, H41

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph and Rand, David G., What Does 'Clean' Really Mean? The Implicit Framing of Decontextualized Experiments (December 1, 2013). Economics Letters, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2317896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2317896

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

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Germany

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

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Rotterdam
Netherlands

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

David G. Rand (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

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