SFB 303 Discussion Paper No. B - 339

Author: Selten, Reinhard, and Axel Ockenfels
Title: An Experimental Solidarity Game
Abstract: 120 subjects played in a three-person-game in which each player could win DM 10,00 with probability of 2/3 or nothing with probability 1/3. Before the three independent random decisions were made, players had to decide how much they were willing to give to one loser or each of two losers in the case of their winning. The experimental setup secured double blindness. The great majority of subjects were willing to make substantial conditional gifts. Five types of gift behavior can be distinguished. The most common type (36% of the subjects ) gives the same positive total amount to one loser and to two losers. This behavior does not lend itself to a straightforward interpretation as the result of altruistic utility maximization. Subjects were also asked to estimate the average gifts of others. There is a significant positive correlation between the estimates and the sujects' own gifts. This is similar to false consensus effects known in literature ( ROSS ET AL., 1977 ). Among male subjects, those studying economics show a more "egoistical" behavior than others. Among female subjects, no such "education effect" can be found. Females tend to give more than males.
Creation-Date: December 1995
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