Working Paper No. 1205

Mine, Ours or Yours? Unintended Framing Effects in Dictator Games

Published: March 28, 2018Pages: 16Keywords: Dictator games; Framing effects; Property rights; Social preferencesJEL-codes: C70; C91; D63

Mine, Ours or Yours? Unintended Framing Effects in Dictator Games Andreas Bergh and Philipp C. Wichardt


This paper reports results from a classroom dictator game comparing the effects of three different sets of standard instructions. As was shown by Oxoby
and Spraggon (2008), inducing a feeling of entitlement – one subject earning the endowment – strongly affects allocations in dictator games towards the owner of the money (both dictator and receiver).

The present results show that seemingly small differences in instructions induce fundamentally different perceptions regarding entitlement. Behavior is affected accordingly, i.e. instructions inducing subjects to perceive the task as distributive rather than a task of generosity lead to higher allocations to receivers (average 52% vs. 35%).

A theoretical explanation integrating monetary as well as social incentives and emphasizing potential effects of uncertainty about the latter is discussed (cf. Bergh and Wichardt, 2018).

Andreas Bergh

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

Trust in the European Union in Challenging Times

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This is the first book in the Interdisciplinary European Studies collection. This volume provides an interdisciplinary perspective on trust in the EU from the vantage point of political science, law and economics. Lars Oxelheim, Lund University and affiliated to IFN, is one of the authors.

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