Experimentally Induced Empathy Does Not Affect Monetarily Incentivized Dictator Game Behavior

15 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2018

See all articles by Jan-Erik Lönnqvist

Jan-Erik Lönnqvist

University of Helsinki - Department of Psychology

Gari Walkowitz

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik

Date Written: March 13, 2018

Abstract

In a monetarily incentivized Dictator Game we expected Dictators’ empathy towards the Recipients to cause more pro-social allocations. Empathy was experimentally induced via a commonly used perspective taking task. Dictators (N = 476) were instructed to split an endowment of 10€ between themselves and an unknown Recipient. They could split the money 8/2 (8€ for Dictator, 2€ for Recipient) or 5/5 (5€ each). Although the empathy manipulation successfully increased Dictators’ feelings of empathy towards the Recipients, Dictators’ decisions on how to split the money were not affected. We had ample statistical power (above .99) to detect a typical social psychology effect (corresponding to r around .20). Other possible determinants of generosity in the Dictator Game should be investigated.

Keywords: Empathy, Dictator Game, Generosity, Altruism, Experimental Economics

JEL Classification: C72, C91, D03

Suggested Citation

Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik and Walkowitz, Gari, Experimentally Induced Empathy Does Not Affect Monetarily Incentivized Dictator Game Behavior (March 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3140006 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3140006

Jan-Erik Lönnqvist (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Department of Psychology ( email )

Meritullinkatu 1
Helsinki 00014
Finland

Gari Walkowitz

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik ( email )

Richard-Wagner-Str.1
Munich, 80333
Germany

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