What's in a Name? Anonymity and Social Distance in Dictator and Ultimatum Games
17 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2001
Date Written: August 16, 2003
The standard procedure in experimental economics maintains anonymity among participants. Yet, many field interactions are conducted with neither complete anonymity nor complete familiarity. How will people respond to varying degrees of anonymity and social distance? We consider the effect of one form of social distance, by comparing the standard procedure of playing dictator and ultimatum games with the same games played by participants who knew the family name of their counterparts. When names were revealed, dictators allocated significantly more. However, this information had little effect on ultimatum game offers; strategic considerations seem to crowd out impulses toward generosity or charity.
Keywords: Altruism, Experiment, Generosity, Names, Social Distance
JEL Classification: A13, B49, C91, D63, D64
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation