Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs About Others’ Altruism
38 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2015
We present results from a “corruption game” (a dictator game modified so that recipients can take a side payment in exchange for accepting a reduction in the overall size of the pie). Dictators (silently) treated to be able to take more of the recipient’s tokens, took more of them. They were also more likely to believe that recipients had accepted side payments, even if there was a prize for accuracy. The results favor the hypothesis that people avoid altruistic actions by distorting beliefs about others’ altruism. Our favorite estimates suggest that the self-serving bias increases the allocator’s probability belief that the seller took the “unkind” action by 20 percentage points, and makes the allocator take an additional 2.5 (out of 10) tokens from the seller.
Keywords: beliefs, self-serving bias, cognitive dissonance, dictator game
JEL Classification: P16, E62
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation