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The art of exploiting emotion: pre-play communications in dictator games

25 Jul 2019 - 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm

We investigate the subtle effects of pre-play communications in dictator games, and aim to find whether (i) recipients try to manipulate dictator behavior with communication, and (ii) dictators are affected by such communication. A recipient can send a message about an amount he/she would expect from a dictator, and the dictator may receive the message before his/her decision. Since who the recipient communicates with and the framing of the game can affect dictator’s giving, we vary two factors: framing (giving vs. taking) and target of communication (message sent to the experimenter vs. to the dictator). Furthermore, when the message is sent to the dictator, depending on the treatment the message reach the target with certainty or with some uncertainty.
We find four main results. First, communication influences altruistic behavior, but there exist significant framing effects: the amount expected affects recipient payoff significantly in a giving frame but not in a taking frame. Second, greed fires back: if the recipient sends message expecting at most half of the endowment, then such expectation has a positive effect on dictator giving. However, if the expectation is more than half, then the dictator gives a much lesser amount. Third, the recipients use the message strategically: they send a higher amount of expectation when the message goes to the dictator versus when it goes to the experimenter. Finally, uncertainty matters in the giving game: the recipients send messages with higher expected amounts when the dictators receive the messages with some uncertainty in the giving frame but not in the taking frame. When such uncertainty exists, then dictator giving is not affected specifically by high expectations.


25 Jul 2019
5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
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TUM School of Management
Arcisstraße 21
München, 80333 Germany


Name (Seminar)
Joo Young Jeon
Link Name (Seminar)
University of Reading
Hanna Hottenrott
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