What's in a Name? Anonymity and Social Distance in Dictator and Ultimatum Games

17 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2001

See all articles by Gary Charness

Gary Charness

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Date Written: August 16, 2003

Abstract

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

Charness, Gary and Gneezy, Uri, What's in a Name? Anonymity and Social Distance in Dictator and Ultimatum Games (August 16, 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=292857 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.292857

Gary Charness (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States
805-893-2412 (Phone)
805-893-8830 (Fax)

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

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