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What motivates other regarding behaviour?: investigating with the dictator game
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 00:44 authored by Matthias Oldham
The purpose of this thesis is to develop the existing literature on other regarding behaviour. The dictator game experiment, which is commonly interpreted as a "test for fairness", is used as the main analytical tool. Within a general investigation of the factors motivating dictator behaviour, a specific research question is addressed. Take-option dictator game experiments have established that dictators who may take from recipients overwhelmingly do so, undermining an other regarding interpretation of their behaviour. This thesis investigates the apparently drastic shift in behaviour through the analysis of a novel dictator game. This experiment contrasts the effect of a take option on participants facing an anonymous recipient with those facing a known charity. The economics, psychology and neuroeconomics literature are drawn upon to establish a number of factors relevant to interpreting dictator behaviour. These relevant factors are included in a post game questionnaire, responses from which are used as variables in an interval regression analysis. It is established that a take-option effect persists with a charity recipient, but is diminished relative to the take option effect seen with an anonymous recipient. In light of the regression analysis, it is suggested that the diminished effect is the result of a greater desire on the part of dictators to act altruistically, and greater dictator confidence in the validity of the experiment. This result implies that an other regarding explanation of the take option effect is tenable, but the conclusion is tentative and further analysis is required.