Talk:Dictator game

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Gender pronouns[edit]

Before changing "her" to "him" or "they" please see the wikipedia manual of style which says that when two or more correct usages are available the choice by the initial author should remain. Even if the singular plural should be used, this edit uses the non-word "themself" (it should be "themselves"). --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 04:32, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Just use the "singular they" and be done with it. Hanxu9 (talk) 13:12, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Since the above comments were written, the Manual of Style has been updated to say "Use gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision". I prefer singular "they", although I would not object to using "he/she". On the history of "themself" (which dates back at least to the 13th Century), see: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/themself Freelance Intellectual (talk) 13:15, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

List[edit]

I have removed references to John List's experiments. I can find no reference to these experiments on his webpage. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 21:36, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

it can't be failure to maximize utility[edit]

"Proposers fail to maximize their own expected utility," is there something I'm missing here? :) I can imagine a different game would clearly demonstrate that it is not simply a mechanical/assessment failure: the Nero-game. Two players, one pile of money and one lighter. The first player may select any amount of money from the pile, and give the rest to the other player, who must burn the rest of the money with the lighter. -- Robbie C. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.66.253.148 (talk) 13:22, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Taking versus giving[edit]

Another possibility why people will take money, even though when giving they don't divide it 100% to themselves, is the difference in social perception between being an aggressive competitor and being simply "mean". I think I've seen something on this, any ideas?? Aardwolf (talk) 20:24, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

What about just stabilizing the society ? In dictator game i may expect that my opponent is beggar, and if i would not give him some "living minimum" he'd get useless at best: he may die decreasing available working hands number in my and his society, he may turn to crimes or to riots making my living in the society worse overall. The taker game implies he already has some belongings, so while i would make him less rich, i do not leave him penniless. So basically it is all about finding "living minimum" that makes the society comfort to live within. Add "if the opponent would have less than $5 then he'd die" and i expect dictator would give him those five plus some safety margin, while taker would try to know how much the victim possesses no, to determine how much he can safely withdraw. 176.195.124.191 (talk) 19:31, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Dr. Korenok's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Korenok has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:


1. Original: "This game has been used to test the homo economicus model of individual behavior: if individuals were only concerned with their own economic well being, dictators would allocate the entire good to themselves and give nothing to the recipient."

Comment: "economic well being" is not precise, it could mean many different things. Propose to change it to more precise: "...if the dictators were only concerned with how much money they receive,..."

2. Original: "1. Dictators fail to maximize their own expected utility,"

Comment: Not precise enough. Propose to change to: "1. Dictators' utility functions include only money that they receive and dictators fail to maximize it."

3. Original: "This suggests that dictator game behavior is, in fact, altruism instead of the failure of optimizing behavior."

Comment: I don't think this statement is accurate. Propose to change to: "This suggests that dictator game behavior is well approximated by a model in which dictators maximize utility functions that include benefits received by others."

4. Original: "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."

Comment: Both of these statements have no support in the text or footnotes. In fact, the text above leads to opposite conclusion that results are NOT mixed.

5. Original: "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.[3] 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."[3] Under 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."

Comment: This paragraph is very misleading. It needs to be re-written or deleted. In general, results in taking games (as in giving games) suggest that dictators cares not only about own payoff but recipient's payoff as well.

6. Comment: Section Challenges should be re-written. It is poorly done.


We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

Dr. Korenok has published scholarly research which seems to be relevant to this Wikipedia article:


  • Reference : Korenok Oleg & Edward L. Millner & Laura Razzolini, 2013. "Taking, Giving, and Impure Altruism in Dictator Games," Working Papers 1301, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 15:38, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

Dr. Branas-Garza's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Branas-Garza has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:


COMMENT 1: paragraph 3 beginning with “Additional experiments… “ In the sentence number 3 there is footnote: "clarification needed"

, that is, subjects are therefore increasing their utility when they pass money to the receipts. The later implies that they are maximizing a utility function that incorporates recipient's welfare and not only their own welfare. This is the core of the "other-regarding" preferences. A number of experiments have shown that donations are substantially larger when the dictators are aware of the recipient need of the money. Newref1

newref1. Eckel, Catherine C. and Philip Grossman (1996). “Altruism in Anonymous Dictator Games”. Games and Economic Behavior 16:181-191. Brañas-Garza, Pablo (2006). “Poverty in Dictator Games: Awakening Solidarity”. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 60(3): 306-320.


      • now continues with OLD text**** Other experiments have shown a relationship between political participation and dictator game giving (…).

COMMENT 2: Just after “political participation” ADD “and social integration” … so the new paragraph reads:

Other experiments have shown a relationship between political participation and social integration and dictator game giving (…).

COMMENT 3: Merge footnote 8 and 9 (move the content of footnote 9 to note 8). Old footnote 9 would be 8+9.

Since footnote 9 is now “empty” we can write there: Leider, Stephen, Möbius, Markus M. , Rosenblat, Tanya and Do Quoc-Anh (2009). “Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 124(4): 1815-1851. Branas-Garza, Pablo, Cobo-Reyes, Ramon, Espinosa, María Paz, Jiménez, Natalia, Kovářík, Jaromír and Ponti Giovanni. (2010). “Altruism and social integration” Games and Economic Behavior 69(2): 249-257.

COMMENT 4: same sentence: valid indicator of concern for the well-being of others.[8][9] AFTER {8}{9} NEW SENTENCE. Recent papers have shown that experimental subjects in the lab do not behave differently than ordinary people outside the lab regarding altruism. Newref 3. In fact, a recent pair of studies suggests that behavior in this game is heritable. Newref 4

Newref2: Exadaktylos, Filippos, Espín, Antonio M and Brañas-Garza, Pablo (2013) “Experimental subjects are not different” Nature Scientific Reports 3 (1213)

Newref3: Cesarini David, Dawes Christopher T, Johannesson Magnus, Lichtenstein Paul, Wallace Bjorn (2009). “Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 2: 809–842. Brañas-Garza Pablo, Kovářík Jaromir, Neyse Levent (2013). “Second-to-Fourth Digit Ratio Has a Non-Monotonic Impact on Altruism” PLoS ONE 8(4): e60419.


COMMENT 5: paragraph 4: the sentence: "SECOND, SUBJECTS' BEHAVIOR MAY BE AFFECTED BY A KIND OF FRAMING EFFECT." just after FRAMING add newref4

Newref 4. Hoffman, Elizabeth, Kevin McCabe, and Vernon Smith (1996). “Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games”. The American Economic Review 3: 653-660. Brañas-Garza, Pablo (2007). “Promoting helping behaviour with framing in Dictator Games”. Journal of Economic Psychology 28 (4): 477-486

COMMENT 6: I think that the whole TRUST GAME section should be removed. The TG needs a new entry itself.


We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

We believe Dr. Branas-Garza has expertise on the topic of this article, since he has published relevant scholarly research:


  • Reference : Branas-Garza, Pablo & Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2014. "What do we expect of others?," MPRA Paper 53760, University Library of Munich, Germany.

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 19:51, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Dr. Alevy's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Alevy has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:


John List's (2007) 'On the Interpretation of Giving in Dictator Games' Journal of Political Economy, should be noted along with Bardsely's contribution to the topic.

(Bardsley and List conducted treatments that opened the "take" space in dictator settings at about the same time). As discussed in the current Wikipedia entry the examination of the take space has proved fruitful with subsequent contributions that include introduction of nationally representative samples, (Cappelen et al. 2013; Economics Letters; 'Give and Take in Dictator Games'); taking aversion (Korenok, Millner, and Razzolini, 2015; 'Taking Aversion') and exploration of gender and audience effects (Chowdhury; Jeon, and Saha, 2016; 'Giving, Taking and Gender in Dictator Games) and (Alevy, Jeffries, and Lu 2014; Gender and Frame specific audience effects in Dictator Games; Economics Letters).

A meta-analysis of dictator giving appeared in Experimental Economics (Engel, 2011). Surprisingly, the meta-analysis concluded that the 'take' option had no effect. A followup (comment) on this study also in Experimental Economics showed that - although other findings of the Engel analysis proved robust - the null result with respect to dictator taking was in error (Zhang and Ortmann (2014).


We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

We believe Dr. Alevy has expertise on the topic of this article, since he has published relevant scholarly research:


  • Reference : Jonathan E. Alevy & Francis L. Jeffries & Yonggang Lu, 2013. "Gender- and Frame-specific Audience Effects in Dictator Games," Working Papers 2013-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 17:05, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Description etc[edit]

I have edited the structure of the article to highlight the substance of the description section. A part of this had commented on the status of the game as a game (which I have moved into the lede), another on the application of the game (which I have put into a new section, titled Application, which could be used to contain other parts of the article), and the decription itself. These parts are brief and none is referenced. Consequently I replaced the old template box with inline requests to each. From the actual description/game the impression is given that the "game" is lacking not only those elements required of a game but also those required for a decision. The description given contains no clue to any constraints nor to any context of the "decision" required. Although this seems inconceivable unfortunately I have been unable to find any other description of the game from an online search, so at this point I am unable to do more. LookingGlass (talk) 11:47, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

Link to German Version is wrong[edit]

The link to the german article leads to the "Vertrauensspiel" which is different from the dictator game. Somehow I could not remove the link myself. Meerpirat (talk) 10:09, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

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