Error Prone Inference from Response Time: The Case of Intuitive Generosity
32 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2014
Date Written: July 2017
Research on public-good games reveals greater contributions by fast decision-makers than by slow decision-makers. Interpreting greater contributions as generosity, this is seen as evidence of generosity being intuitive. We caution that mistakes may lead to the observed comparative static. Varying the location of the equilibrium in public-good games with a unique dominant strategy, we find that the comparative static depends on the location of the equilibrium. Replicating existing results, we find that fast decision-makers give more than slow decision-makers when the equilibrium is below the mid-point of the strategy set. However, this comparative static is reversed when the equilibrium is above the mid-point of the strategy set. Consistent with mistakes decreasing with decision time, we find that individuals who make (or have to make) fast decisions are insensitive to incentives, more often make mistakes, and are less likely to make equilibrium contributions. The findings make clear that the rate of mistakes over time must be controlled for if one is to draw inference on preferences from response time.
JEL Classification: C920, D010, D030
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation