Working Paper | 2010

Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs about Others

by Rafael Di Tella and Ricardo Perez-Truglia

Abstract

In this paper we present the results from a "corruption game" (a dictator game modified so that the second player can accept a side payment that reduces the overall size of the pie). Dictators (silently) treated to have the possibility of taking a larger proportion of the recipient's tokens, take more of them. They were also more likely to report believing that the recipient would accept a low price in exchange for a side payment and selected larger numbers as their best guess of the likely proportion of recipients acting "unfairly." The results favor the hypothesis that people avoid altruistic actions by distorting beliefs about others.

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Judgments; Fairness; Values and Beliefs; Game Theory; Personal Characteristics;

Citation:

Di Tella, Rafael, and Ricardo Perez-Truglia. "Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs about Others." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 16645, December 2010.