Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 03/16: You’ll never walk alone. An experimental study on receiving money

Sigve Tjøtta ()
Additional contact information
Sigve Tjøtta: Department of Economics, University of Bergen, Postal: Post Box 7800, 5020 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Is more money better than less? Not always. It depends on the situation. If more money for oneself means less money for a stranger, the majority of participants in dictator games choose less money for themselves. But if they really are alone - and thus do not have to share with a stranger - will they always choose to receive more money instead of less? Here, I report results from seven experiments. On average, one-third of a total of 3,351 participants chose to receive less money instead of more. In one experiment even a majority choose to receive less money. In four of the experiments the participants also faced the corresponding dictator experiment where there is an explicit anonymous recipient of the foregone money. There is a high positive correlation between “giving” as a dictator and when alone. This result opens up possibilities for broader interpretations that go beyond social the preference interpretation of giving in the dictator game.

Keywords: More or less Money; Dictator game; Distributional and non-distributional norms

JEL-codes: D01; D03; D63

35 pages, May 13, 2016

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