A Kuhn–Tucker model for behaviour in dictator games

Peter G. Moffatt, Graciela Zevallos

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We consider a dictator game experiment in which dictators perform a sequence of giving tasks and taking tasks. The data is used to estimate the parameters of a Stone-Geary utility function over own-payoff and other’s payoff. The econometric model incorporates zero observations (e.g. zero-giving or zero-taking) by applying the Kuhn-Tucker theorem and treating zeros as corner solutions in the dictator’s constrained optimisation problem. The method of maximum simulated likelihood (MSL) is used for estimation. We find that selfishness is significantly lower in taking tasks than in giving tasks, and we attribute this difference to the “cold prickle of taking”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226–243
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Economic Science Association
Early online date3 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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