The idea that the highly mixed results of the Dictator game prove or disprove rationality in economics is not widely accepted. Results offer both support of the classical assumptions and notable exception which have led to improved holistic economic models of behavior. Some authors have suggested that giving in the dictator game does not entail that individuals wish to maximize others' benefit (altruism). Instead they suggest that individuals have some negative utility associated with being seen as greedy, and are avoiding this judgment by the experimenter. Some experiments have been performed to test this hypothesis with mixed results.
Further experiments testing experimental effects have been performed. Bardsley has performed experiments where individuals are given the opportunity to give money, give nothing, or take money from the respondent. In these cases most individuals far from showing altruism actually take money. And comparing the taking games with dictator games which start from the same endowments, most people who give in the dictator game would take in a taking game. Bardsley suggests two interpretations for these results. First, it may be that the range of options provides different cues to experimental subjects about what is expected of them. "Subjects might perceive dictator games as being about giving, since they can either do nothing or give, and so ask themselves how much to give. Whilst the taking game... might appear to be about taking for analogous reasons, so subjects ask themselves how much to take." On this interpretation dictator game giving is a response to demand characteristics of the experiment. Second, subjects' behavior may be affected by a kind of framing effect. What a subject considers to be an appropriately kind behavior depends on the range of behaviors available. In the taking game, the range includes worse alternatives than the dictator game. As a result giving less, or even taking, may appear equally kind.
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Famous quotes containing the word challenges:
“The approval of the public is to be avoided like the plague. It is absolutely essential to keep the public from entering if one wishes to avoid confusion. I must add that the public must be kept panting in expectation at the gate by a system of challenges and provocations.”
—André Breton (18961966)
“A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.”
—Marcel Proust (18711922)