If You Could Read My Mind—An Experimental Beauty-Contest Game with Children
55 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 30, 2019
We develop a new design for the experimental beauty-contest game (BCG) that is suitable for children in school age and test it with 114 schoolchildren aged 9–11 years. In addition, we collect measures on cognitive skills and perspective-taking abilities to identify determinants of successful performance in the game. Results demonstrate that children can successfully understand and play a BCG. Choices start at a slightly higher level than those of adults but learning over time and depth of reasoning are largely comparable with the results of studies run with adults. Cognitive skills are predictive only of whether children choose weakly dominated strategies, whereas measures of perspective-taking abilities are strongly linked to successful performance in the BCG. These findings emphasize the importance of perspective-taking abilities for strategic interaction and economic decision-making. Our new design for the experimental BCG allows further study of the development of strategic interaction skills starting already in school age.
Keywords: children, experimental beauty-contest game, guessing game, strategic interaction, decision-making, perspective-taking, theory of mind, empathy, noncognitive skills
JEL Classification: C72, C92
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation