The relevance of irrelevant information in the dictator game

Abhijit Ramalingam

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We examine the sensitivity of the dictator game to information provided to subjects. We investigate if individuals internalize completely irrelevant information about players when making allocation decisions. Subjects are provided with their score and the scores of recipients on a quiz prior to making decisions in multiple dictator games. Quiz scores have no bearing on the game or on players' endowments and hence represent extraneous information. We find that dictators reward good performance on the quiz. We find that information that is irrelevant for the game might nevertheless be relevant for choices. Our results highlight the extreme sensitivity of the dictator game to information and context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-754
Number of pages9
JournalEconomics Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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