April, 2017

Smile, Dictator, You're on Camera

  • Joy Buchanan

    Assistant Professor of Economics, Samford Univeristy
  • Matthew K. McMahon

  • Matthew Simpson

  • Bart J. Wilson

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We investigate the degree to which people in a shopping mall express other-regarding behavior in the dictator game. Whereas many studies have attempted to increase the social distance between the dictator and experimenter and between the dictator and recipient, we attempt to minimize that social distance between random strangers by video recording the decisions, with the permission of the dictators, to display their image on the Internet. Offers made by dictators are high, relative to other experiments, and a nontrivial number give the entire experimental windfall away. However, a nontrivial number of people keep everything as well.